Federal appeals court strikes down ObamaCare rule, setting up Supreme Court showdown
- Author: Ismael Montgomery Dec 25, 2019,
Dec 25, 2019, 0:32
Citing the Supreme Court's 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius opinion, the panel explained that the key feature of the individual mandate -the critical tax attributes that once saved the mandate from unconstitutionality- no longer exist, and therefore it can no longer be classed under Congress' taxing power. For now, the ruling leaves intact access to healthcare for millions of Americans who otherwise would face the loss of coverage if the law is wiped out entirely. Almost 3.9 million people had selected policies through December 7, but millions more signed up or were automatically re-enrolled in policies through the end of open enrollment, which finished early Wednesday morning. If you think back to 2017 when Republicans in Congress had tried to repeal and replace Obamacare again and again, they failed to do that. "It may be that all of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate".
"The most straightforward reading applies: the mandate is a command".
Congress had already zeroed out the penalty for the individual mandate for Obamacare.
The Trump administration, meanwhile, has taken several positions on the case. Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King, a Jimmy Carter appointee, dissented.
Legal challenges to Obamacare have continually defied predictions and its fate may be even more hard to predict in the 2020 presidential election year - other than the fact it will continue.
A federal appeals court upheld the decision to rule as unconstitutional a major feature of the "Obamacare" law. They charged that when Congress eliminated the financial penalty for not having insurance as part of its 2017 tax bill, it rendered the rest of the health law moot. It may also reduce the odds that the Supreme Court will review the case right away: "The Court doesn't normally like to hear cases before they're wrapped up", Bagley concluded. Devoid of that penalty, Obamacare's intrusive individual mandate can not be preserved as a tax, rendering Obamacare entirely unlawful.
Meanwhile, the court challenge is not over. "The best way to get certainty is to go to the Supreme Court", he said.
It was not decided how much of the act must also fall along with the individual mandate, which stipulates that American's must obtain health insurance.
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"It could be read this way because the shared responsibility payment produced revenue".
Since there is now no penalty for noncompliance with the individual mandate, eliminating it completely would have little further practical effect.
Instead, they tasked O'Connor, the far-right judge whose ruling was widely panned, to reconsider the case now that they've rejected the ACA's individual mandate.
Conservatives were pleased. "Today's decision reminds us that Obamacare has been on shaky ground since its creation", said Marie Fishpaw of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
A legal ruling handed down on Wednesday created massive uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act's future. "We look forward to the opportunity to further demonstrate that Congress made the individual mandate the centerpiece of Obamacare and the rest of the law can not stand without it". The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a ruling in federal district court that found the individual mandate to be unconstitutional.
With an increasing threat of a judicial ruling against the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), patient advocates have called for solidifying the law and its protections against further erosion. The point, evidently, will be for him to evaluate whether elements of the law can remain intact, or whether the entirety of the ACA system - every benefit, every protection, every safeguard, etc. - should be destroyed.
This doesn't mean the law is entirely dead as it still has to make its way through the court system. But, it urges limits.