Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Democratic states appeal Texas judge's ruling striking down Affordable Care Act

Democratic states appeal Texas judge's ruling striking down Affordable Care Act

In one of the first actions on the opening day of a new Congress, the House of Representatives - now under Democratic control - moved to enter a federal court case to provide a robust defense of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") in a direct confrontation with President Donald Trump.

"This shouldn't be a debate; the ACA has been the law for almost a decade and is the backbone of our healthcare system", Becerra said.

Obamacare was struck down by a federal judge in Texas last month, and now a nationwide coalition of attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, want to appeal that decision.

White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the ruling will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court and that it is possible that the law will not be repealed.

"This case impacts almost every American", Becerra said.

Colorado's Attorney General-Elect Phil Weiser said in the press call that rural hospitals in OR and Colorado will likely have to close if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

"We're getting inundated", Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids and Families, a group that helps people enroll across the state, said last month.

Politically, the development may temporarily move the national spotlight off President Trump's expanding legal difficulties from the Mueller investigation on the Russian conspiracy to influence US elections and the president's spreading business troubles. With the stay in place, the Affordable Care Act's provisions will continue as normal while the case moves through the federal court system. The judge in the case ruled specifically against the individual mandate, and threw out the entire law.

Nevada Attorney General-elect Aaron Ford is expected to join the California-led coalition with backing from the incoming Democratic governor, as The Nevada Independent reported. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012, saying the mandate was constitutional because it was covered by Congress' power to levy taxes.

"It's is an affront to the rule of law", he added, arguing that the ruling will not stand.

Although Judge O'Connor was told by the House that the challenging states and the Trump Administration are opposed to the House's entry, the new filing in Fort Worth made a series of arguments that the legislative chamber has both an explicit legal right to do so, but also has a backup argument that it should be let into the case as a matter of judicial discretion.

Rosenblum said it "remains to be seen" what role, if any, Congress will have in the case.

For now, the attorneys general are focused on a win in the Fifth Circuit Court. The widely assumed result: There would be lower participation in the Affordable Care Act market widely known as Obamacare.

"The law is fully in effect, and no one should be acting or treating the law as if it were not", Becerra said.

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