The Department of Justice announced support for a District Court ruling that found ObamaCare unconstitutional based on its individual mandate.
This means that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA or “ObamaCare”) is at risk. That means pre-existing conditions protections, Premium Tax Credits, out-of-pocket assistance, women health services, your 1 free preventive care visit a year, guaranteed emergency room visit coverage, women not being able to be charged more than men, etc are all at risk.
Here is the basics of what is going on:
- 20 Republican Attorneys Generals (AG) of mostly Republican led states filed a lawsuit against the ACA.
- The lawsuit charged that the ACA was only legal because the mandate’s tax was in Congress’s power. However, since the Mandate’s fee was repealed under the Tump era tax bill, that the ACA was no longer illegal.
- A Texas Federal U.S. District Judge, Judge Reed O’Connor, heard the case and ruled that the mandate is illegal, and therefore the Affordable Care Act as a whole is illegal.
- The Justice Department has now 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.
- This means unless it is successfully appealed, it will eventually lead to the Affordable Care Act and ALL of its provisions going away.
- Despite all of that, there is likely to be a long appeals process, the ACA could end up in the Supreme Court, and if it does look like it is about to be repealed, Congress and other branches of government will still have the option of drafting new legislation to ensure some parts of the existing law.
In short, while the entire law is now in jeopardy due to Republican Attorneys Generals and Trump’s DOJ, there is still a lengthy legal process that needs to play out before anything is decided… However, if the courts ultimately do uphold the ruling, the entire ACA will be considered illegal and that could have drastic consequences for the nation.
TIP: Whichever side loses the cases is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court. So although the outcome of this is important, the likely outcome of a Supreme Court case on the issue will be the final word and the most important aspect of the outcome.