Sunday, 21 July, 2019

Affordable Care Act: US court to weigh its constitutionality

Democratic group unleashes ad blitz against Reyes and other GOP attorneys general fighting to topple Obamacare Latest 'Obamacare' Court Battle Plays out in New Orleans
Anna Jefferson | 10 July, 2019, 08:08

As they push a federal court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Trump administration lawyers are arguing the law is no longer workable because Congress eliminated a penalty on people who don't have health insurance.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is set to hear arguments on whether to uphold a federal district court's ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But Texas' latest lawsuit, filed in February 2018, became an existential threat to the law after U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled in December that it is unconstitutional in its entirety.

With no fine for those who refuse to buy insurance, they argued that the mandate is now unconstitutional, and since it's a central part of the law, so is the entire ACA.

The panel is considering an appeal from Democrats, who say a judge in Texas erred by ruling the mandate is unconstitutional and can not be severed from the rest of the law - including its protections for people with preexisting conditions, subsidies for private insurance and expansion of Medicaid.

California and the 19 other states, as well as the District of Columbia, which won permission to defend the law when the Trump administration declined to do so, appealed to the federal court in New Orleans to reverse the Texas ruling.

The states say that the voiding of the penalty, which took effect this year, removes the legal underpinning the Supreme Court relied upon when it upheld the law in 2012 under Congress' tax power.

Affordability tax credits that reduce the cost of health care premiums for millions of Americans will no longer be available. "Republicans tried to come up with a replacement plan for 10 years, and they couldn't do it", he says.

Johnson had no specific comment on the lawsuit today, but a spokesperson told NewsChannel 7 he consistently supports maintaining access to affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The House of Representatives intervened on appeal.

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And there is now widespread agreement that the health care law's system of providing generous subsidies to low- and moderate-income consumers to help them buy coverage is enough to bring millions of people into the markets.

The big tax cut bill passed by the GOP Congress in December 2017 eliminated the penalty included in the ACA for failure to maintain health insurance coverage. Another 800,000 Pennsylvanians enrolled in Medicaid expansion also could lose coverage. At first, the Trump administration said some of the law should remain.

Bush appointee, and Judge Kurt Engelhardt, a Donald Trump appointee, pressed a Department of Justice attorney about what would happen if the courts found that the law was unconstitutional.

Although a decision by the New Orleans-based 5 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could take months, it is expected that, whatever the outcome, the ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters weighed in on the Trump administration's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. "But when introducing the legislation, he said in a statement: "(N) o hardworking American should ever have to go to bed anxious about being denied coverage or treatment if they or their children have a pre-existing condition". The high court has previously reviewed the law, and its coverage and insurance protections for millions of Americans.

Wall said she was denied healthcare prior to the ACA.

At stake in the panel's decision is insurance coverage for millions of Americans who gained it under the law through expansions of Medicaid in three dozen states and a new insurance marketplace, as well as consumer protections for most people with private health plans.

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