What Ending the Affordable Care Act Could Mean for Texans

Trenise Bryant joins a rally for the Affordable Care Act in Miami Florida on Aug. 3 2017

Engelhardt and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, could form a majority on the three-judge panel considering the fate of the sweeping challenge to the health care law brought by Texas and 17 other mostly Republican states.

It's unclear exactly when the appeals court will rule, but whichever side loses at this stage is nearly certain to appeal to the Supreme Court, setting up a potential legal showdown in the middle of the 2020 presidential race. Because a 2012 Supreme Court decision had justified the ACA on the basis of Congress' authority to tax, they said the law was now invalid. It held that if people had to pay a penalty for not buying insurance, that payment was effectively a tax.

The hearing marked the latest development in a 2018 lawsuit by 18 Republican-leaning states claiming that the absence of a tax converts the law into an unconstitutional directive to USA citizens to buy a product.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in January joined Democratic officials from nineteen states in a "motion to intervene" in the lawsuit, and has denounced the Trump administration's refusal to defend the law's constitutionality.

But he wanted to make clear one point: "There is not a single Republican senator who believes people with chronic and/or expensive pre-existing conditions shouldn't have access to quality, affordable health care", Toomey said. And it allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until they turn 26. After a two-hour oral debate in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it's unclear if judges were ready to uphold O'Connor's earlier decision invalidating the law. "If there is any other ruling and take down any other parts of the law, I don't see how the Supreme Court doesn't take it". He said it's important to ensure coverage, where the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have promised to scrap the Affordable Care Act. The exchanges must take all applicants and charge them the same rate, regardless of pre-existing health conditions.

Now the matter is before the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans. "The health and wellbeing of almost every American is at risk".

Any kind of ruling by the appeals court, however, is likely to send the ACA to the Supreme Court.

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Judge Elrod noted it was impossible to know whether some Republicans saw changes to the mandate, enshrined in the GOP tax-cut bill, as a backdoor way to attack Obamacare. However, Hawkins took pains to highlight inconsistencies that have developed in the Trump administration's position, which left Flentje, the Justice Department lawyer, occasionally struggling to explain himself.

Robert Henneke, the Texas Public Policy Foundation general counsel and the lead counsel for the individual plaintiffs, told reporters after the hearing it was a "good day".

Congressional Democrats stand outside the U.S. Capitol July 9, 2019, showing the faces of Americans they claim "would be hurt if the Trump administration and Republicans succeed in their effort to strike down the Affordable Care Act". Conservative justices had rejected the argument that Congress could require everyone to buy insurance under the Constitution's interstate commerce clause.

That's because provisions of the ACA extend far beyond its core mission of subsidizing health insurance for low-income Americans. Even right-leaning legal scholars have called their argument "absurd", but supporters of the ACA are anxious that won't matter to an increasingly partisan, GOP-controlled Supreme Court, where the case is expected to eventually wind up.

"Deregulatory reforms should not be expected to destabilize the market for ACA-compliant insurance", wrote the panel of economists appointed by Trump.

"And, the reason they think they have a chance in court is because what they did on the frightful GOP Tax Scam bill, where they undermined the Affordable Care Act there".

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