The Trump administration signaled its support for a federal judge’s ruling that all of the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare, should be thrown out – alarming congressional Democrats. (Politico)
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” three Justice Department lawyers wrote to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now considering the case. “[T]he United States is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed.”
Regardless of the outcome, legal experts anticipate that the 5th Circuit’s ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. If the courts ultimately strike down Obamacare — over the objections of a group of Democrat-led states, which have spent more than a year defending the health law in court — the consequences could be substantial for patients, health care organizations and other groups that have adapted to the nine-year-old law.
More than 20 million Americans are covered through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and its insurance exchanges. The sweeping law — the object of repeated legal challenges since its 2010 passage — has transformed the nation’s health system, creating new patient protections and reshaping payments for doctors and hospitals.
Some of the Trump administration’s proposed drug price reforms depend on provisions contained in the ACA. Senior Trump health officials haven’t detailed how they would respond if all of Obamacare is struck down.
Conservative-leaning states that brought the lawsuit, Texas v. United States, called for striking down the entire law because Congress eliminated its individual insurance mandate penalty.
Their argument convinced U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee.