Late on Friday, December 14, Judge Reed O’Connor, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, issued a court ruling, that strikes down the ACA in its entirety.
For now there are no changes in the current status in the ACA. What it likely does is push front and center the ACA in the new 116th Congress. 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 is in part 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) vs a number of other pro-ACA states led by California.
The President proclaimed his happiness with the decision. It will create some tension within the Republican party which is coming off the campaign with pledges of protection of health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. That will be hard to maintain without a large health insurance pool that the current law provides.