Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
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ObamaCare in jeopardy as appeals court hears case backed by Trump

ObamaCare in jeopardy as appeals court hears case backed by Trump

He said he is co-sponsoring a resolution to allow the Senate legal counsel to intervene in the lawsuit, to defend the Affordable Care Act.

The future of Obamacare could be at stake on Tuesday when a coalition of Democratic-led states and House of Representatives urge a federal appeals court to overturn a Texas judge's ruling that the USA healthcare reform law is unconstitutional.

The Republican governors and attorneys general argue that, since the Supreme Court upheld the health care law as a valid exercise of Congress' taxing authority, taking the tax away makes all of the law unconstitutional. The U.S. Department of Justice, in a highly unusual move, has declined to defend the law. The question of how much of the law may rightly be salvaged was a focal point of court discussions Tuesday.

They questioned whether that command now violates the Constitution.

Most of the unusually large courtroom audience of journalists and interested but unaffiliated attorneys focused on Elrod at the center. Upholding the lower court's ruling, the scholars add, "would upend all of those settled expectations and throw healthcare markets, and 1/5 of the economy, into chaos". Eighteen states, led by Texas, are challenging the federal health care law.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey joined Democrats at state and federal levels this week in calling on Republican lawmakers to take a stance on the lawsuit and its potential ramifications.

King, meanwhile, did not speak at all.

Both sides claimed victory after the hearing. In March, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department said it had "determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal".

Depending on what happens at the appeals court level, the health law could be back in front of the Supreme Court - which has upheld the health law on other grounds in 2012 and 2015 - and land there in the middle of next year's presidential campaign.

Douglas Letter, an attorney for the U.S. House, pointed to those provisions, telling the judges, "These are the kinds of things that would be struck down if there is no severability". Engelhardt demanded. "Isn't that exactly the point?" O'Connor, who was also nominated by George W. Bush, said that because Obamacare called the mandate "essential", the entire law must be struck down.


But the court may still go another way.

"What do you say to people who say it's absurd to say that the mandate isn't severable from, say, the calorie provisions?" she questioned at one point. Since its passage, the health care law has ingrained itself deeply into the US health care system. But if the Texas-led coalition succeeds this time, it could bring unintended consequences for the GOP-led states.

In 2018, Democrats mainly relied on messaging that touted the Affordable Care Act and its coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Total abolition of Obamacare would leave Republican states' policymakers scrambling to replace the law.

She signed up for a plan available to the self-employed on the federal health exchange - with better benefits at lower out-of-pocket costs - as soon as it became available following the 2010 passage of the ACA law under the Obama administration.

A coalition of Republican-led states headed by Texas sued, alleging the tax penalty's elimination rendered Obamacare unconstitutional. "Most people in this state don't even know this lawsuit is underway, quite frankly".

"We never heard anything about any Republican plan", said state Rep. Experts expect it to climb significantly if Obamacare is repealed.

"Our argument is simple", Becerra said in a written statement released Friday.

With no tax penalty now in effect, the Texas lawsuit argues, the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must fall without it. O'Connor, the federal judge in Texas, agreed in a December ruling. Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor declared in December that it did.

However the court decides, the stakes are high.

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