A Texas federal judge ruled the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) unconstitutional on Dec 14 2018. For now nothing changes. However, there could be real consequences down the road.[1][2]

UPDATE: The Judge officially ordered a stay, thus for now the ACA will remain in effect while the ruling is appealed.

UPDATE: The Justice Department has affirmed their support for the ruling. This means that this case will stand as it makes its way through the appeals process in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Here is the deal:

A group of 20 states with Republican governors and/or legislatures argued that the ACA’s individual mandate wasn’t constitutional since Congress removed the tax penalty for going without insurance.

The logic is the 2012 Supreme Court case that had attempted to prove the mandate was unconstitutional relied on the mandate’s fee to show the constitutionality of the ACA by showing that Congress has a right to tax.

However, without an effective mandate, the “the mandate is a tax; and Congress has the power to tax” argument falls apart.

With that said, not only did Texas U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor agree with the 20 states, he ruled that the entire ACA was unconstitutional (not just the mandate).

This doesn’t mean the ACA is repealed however. Instead, the decision is being appealed and it will likely lead to a lengthy legal battle (it could take months or even years).

For now, the ACA stands as is while a legal battle plays out (that means there is still assistance, still protections, still open enrollment, etc). 

However, once the legal process concludes the result could be that the ACA ends.

Citations

  1. Federal judge rules Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, but appeal will leave coverage intact for now. USAToday.com.
  2. A federal judge has ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. So now what happens? USAToday.com.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

lorraine elkins on

this is just a game the republicans are playing to take away health care from those who most need it. another cruelty from Trump and the GOP

patrick ries on

This is how Obamacare worked for me. When I signed up my premiums were $127.00 per month with a $5000.00 annual deductible. There were 3 premium increases in the first year, bringing my monthly out of pocket premium to $167.00. I needed a surgery to repair a hernia. The bill for that surgery was approximately $3700.00. Which because my $5000.00 deductible wasn’t met, I had to pay for myself. That year when I filed my federal income tax, $750.00 of my $1100.00 return was garnished for the “tax credit” to pay part of my monthly premiums. Here are the #’s for my “affordable health care” Annual premium $2004.00- $5000.00 annual deductible-$750.00 Tax credit Total annual cost.$7754.00 before any coverage begins. My annual taxable income is approximately $30,000.00 How is $7,754.00 out of pocket for insurance that leaves me to pay for a $3700.00 surgery affordable. I can’t afford your “affordable health care” I look forward to your reply….

ObamaCareFacts.com on

The price gouging in the current healthcare system is unsustainable, the way the ACA was obstructed and the lack of price controls have led to rapid inflation that is, in my opinion, likely to result in continued headaches for the American people.

We have to elect leaders who will make common sense reforms and not bicker. So far, not so good.

If the GOP can’t pass their version, and if the Democrats can’t get their version past the GOP, we are going to continue to struggle as the push and pull creates uncertainty and insurers jack prices higher.

For now, just be glad the GOP didn’t succeed in taking away your tax credits (because they are actively trying to do that and replace them with literally nothing to start).

That is my response.

Otherwise, to your point, deductibles can make affordable insurance premiums turn into rather unaffordable healthcare in practice. And there is no perfect solution for someone who needs lots of care.

Chad Hetzell on

As a tax professional who works with many low income clients and many middles income clients, I can easily say the the ACA is not helping. The very low income families are still on state Medicaid plans because of ACA minimum income requirements. So no improvement or help for “those who most need it”. Those who meet the requirement find the plans to expensive and deductible too high. Essentially they don’t have working insurance, just an added expense in their lives. This is not to say those of us on “traditional plans” are also not getting killed with worthless plans.
Typical government solution to a problem was to make it a bigger problem!
We need to get rid of major medical mandates and go back to allowing hospitalization plans only again. Major medical should be an option not a requirement. The bureaucracy and administration involved in processing all the claims for every doctor visit in this country is eating up our money and exponentially increasing the cost of health care.
No solution was offered to standardize the claims procedure for all providers. This alone would reduce administration cost significantly. Anyone who works in the medical services industry will certainly attest to this statement.
We need a constitutional amendment to allow providers to cross state lines with one policy. Currently Insurance is still “technically” regulated by the states as provided for in the constitution. Thus large providers have to create separate companies for each state and abide by each states regulations in addition to Federal regulations for medicare patients.
I’ll throw in tort reform for good measure too. Although this issue has been beat to death with no real results. Doctors aren’t miracle workers and they certainly aren’t gods. They make errors and are just wrong sometimes, just like all other professionals. We need to stop playing the malpractice lottery. This practice of suing for unwanted results has led to the micro-specialization of medical providers. Which really is to spread the liability around to combat lawsuits. The results is patients now need to go to several different providers for medical help, which increases administration, provider fees and confusion among all. Of course real negligence is not to be excused or accepted. Finding the balance is the challenge, but I doubt it will be found by us continuing to elect lawyers as politicians, (the industry that profits from lawsuits).
Drug reform would also help with cost reductions. This is a complicated subject and one that I won’t go into detail with at this time. The easiest and simplest cost reduction in the pharmaceutical industry is to stop the advertising and marketing of drugs. The money spent on marketing by this industry in insane. The things they do to get doctors to prescribe their products is ridiculous and should also be restricted. Just this once simple action would reduce the costs of drugs to the consumer significantly. Everyone should do some basic research on this subject. They would be very surprised! These companies are worse than the cartels when it comes to pushing their drugs!
No political party bias here, just common sense which eludes both parties.