The Affordable Care Act (ACA) received some new support in defense of its existence last week. As part of the new House rules package, the Speaker can weigh-in with the courts in support of the law. The action by Speaker Pelosi is a reversal of past actions of House Speakers (Boehner and Ryan) who intervened in opposition to the ACA.

On December 14, Judge Reed O’Connor, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, issued a court ruling, seeking to strike down the ACA in its entirety.

For now there are no changes in the current status in the ACA. The judge’s ruling is being questioned by many on the left and the right in part due to its totality. The judge strikes down the law in its entirety and taken to its logical legal extension it could eliminate the Medicaid expansion, the Indian Health Services funding and the home visiting program since Judge O’Connor ruled the entire ACA invalid.

The ruling was based on Congress’s recent repeal of the tax on people who do not get insurance coverage. In the Judge’s ruling he appears to ignore the Congress’s inability to repeal the exiting law. The ACA law effects a large swath of the health care field. Many legal experts expect the decision to bounce around in appeals. The case was brought by Texas and 17 other anti-ACA state leaders (including the state of Wisconsin—which reinforced its position in a lame duck legislature this past December) vs a number of other pro-ACA states led by California.

The House took the action just after 16 states and the District of Columbia led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an appeal of the Judge Reed ruling. Becerra said that he hoped the case would be wrapped up by the end of the year.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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