by Axios | 12.17.18
Now that federal Judge Reed O'Connor has ruled the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional — since Congress zeroed out the penalty tied to the mandate to buy health insurance — the health care law once again has to show it has an extra life in its back pocket.
The big picture: If O'Connor's ruling stands — or takes effect before an appeal — it would kick millions of people off of private insurance and millions more off of Medicaid, and would eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
But the ripple effects would go much further:
Between the lines: This time, the knives are coming out from all sides to defend the ACA.
This case also has caused internal trouble at the Department of Justice. Bob got in touch with Joel McElvain, one of the three career DOJ attorneys who withdrew from this case this summer when President Trump's DOJ said it wouldn't defend the law.
Our thought bubble: Democrats will make the case that they are the party that protects pre-existing conditions, while Republican messaging on the case — and more broadly, their health care platform — will be muddled at best.
What's next: An appeal would go to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considered one of the more conservative appeals courts. If the Fifth Circuit agrees with this latest ruling, it'd be up to the Supreme Court to decide if it wants to hear the case.
The bottom line: We are still a long way from the Supreme Court intervening, and the ACA is still technically the law of the land while this plays out.
Written by Axios
Follow this Action Center to stay updated on new posts