A group of Tennessee ministers is asking Gov. Bill Lee to back out of a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Tuesday after a Texas judge sided with conservative states trying to abolish Obamacare.
This group of ministers, which also advocated for Medicaid expansion, has been lobbying Tennessee officials to step away from the lawsuit, which many saw as a long shot at first. But a federal judge in Texas sided with the anti-Obamacare states, who argued that if there is no individual mandate to buy insurance, the law falls apart.
Since December, two states who've elected Democratic governors — Wisconsin and Maine — have withdrawn. And ministers like Rev. Matt Steinhauer of Faith Lutheran in Lebanon want Governor Lee to do the same, appealing to his Christian faith, which he frequently references.
"I'd be happy to sit down and listen to governor Lee present why his understanding of Jesus's teaching would be against doing this."
Aside from a mandate to help the poor, Steinhauer says he has a son with special needs who has benefited from new protections for pre-existing conditions and a daughter who could stay on her family's insurance plan while looking for her first job out of college.
Tennessee's governor and attorney general have shown no indication they are reconsidering Tennessee's participation in taking down the Affordable Care Act. Technically, the decision is up to Slatery, who does not work for the governor but is appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
For that reason, even under a Republican governor, Tennessee did not participate in the 2012 lawsuit challenging Obamacare that went to the Supreme Court. At the time, the state had a Democrat serving as attorney general.