Texas Federal Judge Rules Part of Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional

Affordable Care Act

Last Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law cannot stand. The case was brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, along with two individuals. At issue was whether the individual mandate, which was previously upheld by the Supreme Court as a constitutional exercise of Congress's taxing power, had become unconstitutional after Congress had reduced the individual mandate penalty to zero dollars.

In his ruling, Judge Reed O'Connor agreed that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and that the rest of the ACA could not be separated from the mandate. Although the Justice Department disagreed that the entire ACA should be struck down, it declined to defend the law.  As a result, 16 states and the District of Columbia intervened to defend the ACA.

These states, led by California, have vowed to appeal the ruling. Pending such an appeal, the law will remain in place.

December 31, 2018 - 8:17am

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