Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

The ACA decision

Utterly ridiculous, and likely to be short-lived.

Best mugshot ever

A federal judge in Texas threw a dagger on Friday into the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the entire health-care law is unconstitutional because of a recent change in federal tax law.

The opinion by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor overturns all of the sprawling law nationwide.

The ruling came on the eve of the deadline for Americans to sign up for coverage in the federal insurance exchange created under the law.

Since the suit was filed in January, many health-law specialists have viewed its logic as weak but nevertheless have regarded the case as the greatest looming legal threat to the 2010 law, which has been a GOP whipping post ever since and assailed repeatedly in the courts.

The Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional in 2012 and 2015, though the first of those opinions struck down the ACA’s provision that was to expand Medicaid nationwide, letting each state choose instead. No matter how O’Connor ruled, legal experts have been forecasting that the Texas case would be appealed and could well place the law again before the high court, giving its conservative newest member, Justice Brett Kavenaugh, a first opportunity to take part.

Not mentioned in this story, as it came out very quickly after the ruling was released late Friday afternoon (*), is that the judge also denied the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction. This means that the ruling, which is so absurd that even conservative legal experts who oppose the ACA were appalled by it. What happens next is a bit unclear – there will of course be an appeal, and this will almost certainly go to SCOTUS – but for now this is mostly a big legal turd in the punch bowl. Enjoy that health insurance while you can, sure would be a pity if something happened to it. The Trib, Nicholas Bagley, and Daily Kos, among many others, have more.

Related Posts:

6 Comments

  1. Robert Nagle says:

    This is what happens when a Trump Administration refuses to defend any part of Obamacare. I don’t agree that this part is severable from the rest of ACA. (Hint: The Insurance companies want mandates! ) The complaints against the decision rest on understanding legislative intent of 2017 law — which is not a slam dunk. I could easily see Roberts saying that Obamacare is exintricably linked to the mandate. (Indeed, I would go so far to say that it severing Medicaid expansion in 2012 made it unworkable, something that Texans are now paying the price for)

  2. Sorry, I meant to say inextricably… 🙂

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    The real question here is, how old are Justice Robert’s adopted kids now? Supposedly he was blackmailed by questions about the legitimacy of the Irish adoptions. If they are 18 now, that leverage is gone and he can no longer be blackmailed.

    Having said that, the stated reason for approving O’Care was, despite the snake oil sale to the public that it was NOT a tax was, it IS a tax. Well, with the individual mandate gone, it’s no longer a tax. I’m happy to see it go, and I think the SCOTUS will kill it, it’s just a matter of how long the appeals can be dragged out, the same as DACA. DACA will also die at the SCOTUS.

    Bring it on. I don’t know how we expedite these appeals, but we need to figure out how to fast track them. Is the plan to drag out the appeals in hopes that Trump loses in 2020? That save RBG’s seat from going original intent, but does nothing to change the balance in the near future. Clarence Thomas can go longer if he has to.

  4. Jules says:

    Wow! I guess if Justice Roberts votes against the ACA in the future then we’ll know he was successfully blackmailed about his illegal adoptions. No doubt Bill will then be called to testify in Justice Robert’s impeachment. Good luck Bill!

  5. brad m says:

    Bill,

    I am little disappointed you opened up the Republican conspiracy theory present from under the Christmas tree before Christmas morning.

    In any case, I believe that the SC will keep the death panels so that the GOP can continue to shrill from their lungs at the next election about the bogeyman of Obamacare and help the GOP avoid, again, coming up with their own ideas/policies/solutions/laws/anything that may help this issue.

    How many years has it been now that the Republicans have been saying they were going to come up with their own plan to replace the ACA?!

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Brad,

    I actually agree with you, the Republicans are about as useless as tits on a boar hog, when it comes to health care and a ‘replacement’ for O’Care. They postured and preened, then, when Trump got elected and said, ‘let’s roll,’ suddenly they just couldn’t do it. McCain and his thumbs down succinctly illustrates the total failure of the pre-Trump Republican party. It’s stuff like that that has made me a 3rd party voter all these years, until 2016.

    Personally, I would have just repealed it, and let the market go back the way it was before. The problem now is, people have become accustomed to entitlements, and accustomed to rules that pretty much make health ‘insurance’ NOT insurance, mainly because of the pre-existing condition mandate. When you force an insurer to take guaranteed losers, that’s not insurance in any sense I am aware of. Texas had a state run high risk pool for unfortunates with expensive pre-existing conditions, so people weren’t dying in the streets, but no, our current system wasn’t good enough, so now we soaked the middle class to pay for people who would rather have the latest phones and purses than spend their money on health insurance.