What Ending the Affordable Care Act Could Mean for Texans

A federal appeals court will hear arguments from 18 states and the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday in a case that has the potential to derail the Affordable Care Act almost a decade after it took effect.

Tuesday's hearing showed the importance of the case, which could potentially make it to the Supreme Court before the 2020 elections. Since its passage, the health care law has ingrained itself deeply into the USA health care system.

Republican opponents call the law an unwarranted intervention by government, while supporters say striking it down would threaten the health care of 20 million people who have gained insurance under the law. Without the law, seniors would face a gap, known as the "doughnut hole", in their Medicare drug coverage, among other effects. The penalty was zeroed out under the 2017 tax law signed by President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration and 18 states, most prominently Texas, side with O'Connor, while the House of Representatives and 16 states, led by California (and including Colorado), are defending the ACA. Pat Toomey balked at the notion that the GOP is against helping people with pre-existing conditions retain insurance coverage.

"It seems like the language used is pretty heavy when it comes to those provisions being interlocking or intertwining", he said.

According to multiple news reports, Judge Engelhardt questioned why, if Congress meant to keep the health law intact, the Republican-controlled Senate hadn't sent a lawyer to lay out that case.

Employers could return to placing annual and lifetime limits on employees' health care or not providing it at all, and preventative care no longer would be assured by federal subsidies. "There's a political solution and you're asking this court to roll up its sleeves and get involved in it".

He went on to ask: "Why does Congress want the judiciary to be a taxidermist for every big-game legislative accomplishment it achieves?" "Congress can fix this".

In court papers filed in May, Justice Department lawyers, including Hunt, urged the 5th Circuit to strike down the whole law because they said it couldn't stand without the mandate penalty. Engelhardt also wondered why the Republican-controlled Senate hasn't weighed in yet. Romano said he only paid about $250 a month in health care insurance premiums before the ACA was implemented. The 2017 GOP tax bill cut the tax penalty for ignoring this to zero.

"I'm not in a position to psychoanalyze Congress, and this court is not in a position to engage in psychoanalytical tasks", Hawkins said. "That is the beginning and the end of the severability argument". A case brought by a group of Republican-led states, and endorsed by the Justice Department, has made it up to the federal appeals court level.

"This is an issue that's both very important and incredibly personal to me and my family", Gibbs, a board member at the Utah Health Policy Project, said, adding that he is honored to be able to represent Utah patients in his advocacy.

"If the right-wing lawsuit succeeds, millions will lose health care, over 100 million would lose pre-existing condition protections and Americans from one coast to the other will lose the peace of mind that at least there is something there if, God forbid, they or a loved one gets a serious illness", he said. Twenty states and the District of Columbia now comprise the multistate coalition. The entire Republican Party, having created, endorsed, and promoted the lawsuit, now seems increasingly anxious that it might actually succeed.

But on the Senate floor, Republican Sen. "The Supreme Court would probably then hear an appeal, in which [Chief Justice John] Roberts would probably again cast a deciding vote - one way or another - in June of an election year".

  • Joanne Flowers