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IN THE NEWS: 5th Circuit Deals Blow to Health Care Law and Puts Millions at Grave Risk

By December 19, 2019No Comments

Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Trump administration and Republicans in Texas vs. United States, striking down the ACA’s individual mandate as unconstitutional and remanding to the lower court judge a final decision on what parts of the ACA should be eliminated. Coverage of the court’s decision made clear that terminating the law will put tens of millions of Americans at risk of losing coverage and could “upend the nation’s entire health care system.” 

New York Times: “Some 17 Million Americans Could Lose The Coverage Gained Through The Affordable Care Act If The Law Were Thrown Out.” “Some 17 million Americans could lose the coverage gained through the Affordable Care Act if the law were thrown out, more than 50 million people with pre-existing medical conditions could again be denied health insurance and insurers would no longer have to cover people up to age 26 under their parents’ plans.” [New York Times, 12/18/19

NPR/Kaiser Health News: “The Decision Could Upend The Nation’s Entire Health Care System.” “The stakes could not be higher. The case is widely expected to end up at the Supreme Court. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading a coalition of states defending the health law, announced Wednesday night that he would appeal to the high court immediately. And if the high court — which has upheld the ACA twice since its original passage in 2010 — agrees with the appeals court, the decision could upend the nation’s entire health care system.” [NPR, 12/18/19

Bloomberg Law: Obamacare Fate In Limbo As Mandate Tossed, Court Fight Rages On. “The fate of the Affordable Care Act was thrown back into limbo after a federal appeals court found a key piece of the original law unconstitutional, then kicked the case back to the judge who struck it down a year ago.” [Bloomberg Law, 12/18/19

Los Angeles Times: “The Case Could Strip Coverage From As Many As 20 Million People And Eliminate Scores Of Other Protections.” “If Texas and its allies were to fully prevail, the case could strip coverage from as many as 20 million people and eliminate scores of other protections contained in the healthcare law, including prescription drug assistance for seniors who rely on the Medicare Part D program and a popular rule allowing young people to remain on their parents’ health plans until they are 26.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/18/19

Wall Street Journal: “If The ACA Is Ultimately Wiped Out In Court, The Trump Administration Faces The Possibility That The Number Of Americans Without Health Insurance Would Rise Dramatically.” “If the ACA is ultimately wiped out in court, the Trump administration faces the possibility that the number of Americans without health insurance would rise dramatically. The number of non-elderly people who are uninsured dropped by 19 million from 2010 to 2017 as the ACA went into effect.”  [Wall Street Journal, 12/18/19

Associated Press: After Judge Stuck Down The Individual Mandate, The Ultimate Fate Of The Rest Of The Law Including Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions “Remains Unclear.” “The 2-1 ruling handed down by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans means the ultimate fate of the rest of the Affordable Care Act including such popular provisions as protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansion and the ability for children under the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance remains unclear.” [Associated Press, 12/18/19

Reuters: “The Fate Of The Signature Domestic Achievement Of Democratic Former President Barack Obama Remains In Limbo.” “The court, however, avoided answering the key question of whether the rest of the law can remain in place or must be struck down, instead sending the case back to a district court judge for further analysis. That means the fate of the signature domestic achievement of Democratic former President Barack Obama remains in limbo.” [Reuters, 12/18/19

Washington Post: If The ACA Is Overturned, “The Most Popular Element That Would Come Unglued Is Insurance Protections For Americans With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions.” “If the appellate decision is upheld, the most popular element that would come unglued is insurance protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions — the issue that helped House Democrats regain the majority in last year’s elections. Other elements of the law that are at potential risk include insurance subsidies for most people buying health plans through ACA marketplaces, designed for individuals and families that cannot get affordable health benefits through a job; the expansion of Medicaid in three dozen states; the ability of young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they turn 26; and no-charge preventive care for older Americans on Medicare.” [Washington Post, 12/18/19

Politico: “The High-Stakes Ruling Keeps The Legal Threat To Obamacare Alive.” “The high-stakes ruling keeps the legal threat to Obamacare alive while reducing the likelihood the Supreme Court could render a final verdict on the law before the next elections. Still, the appeals court’s decision could renew pressure on President Donald Trump and Republicans to explain how they will preserve insurance protections for preexisting conditions after failing to agree on an Obamacare replacement for years.” [Politico, 12/18/19

CNN: The Decision “Thrusts The Issue Of Health Care Into The Forefront” Of The 2020 Campaign. “The 2-1 decision by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals likely pushes any Supreme Court action on Obamacare until after the 2020 election but again thrusts the issue of health care into the forefront of the campaign — and extends the uncertainty surrounding the future of the landmark law, long a political target for President Donald Trump and other Republicans.” [CNN, 12/18/19

CNN: Following The Trump Administration’s Argument To Invalidate The Law In GOP States “Would Throw The Nation’s Health Care System Into Chaos.” “Invalidating the law in only the 18 states in the lawsuit would throw the nation’s health care system into chaos and deepen the inequality of access to health care that already exists. Also, several provisions — such as making it easier to obtain lower-cost versions of certain complex drugs, changing Medicare payment rates or increasing certain taxes on wealthier Americans — would be difficult to divide up by state.” [CNN, 12/18/19

USA Today: The Decision Could “Jeopardize Health Insurance For Millions Of Americans And Set Up An Election-Year Showdown At The Supreme Court.” “A federal appeals court in New Orleans struck down a major part of the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, a decision that eventually could jeopardize health insurance for millions of Americans and set up an election-year showdown at the Supreme Court.” [USA Today, 12/18/19

The Hill: Court Ruling Reignites ObamaCare Fight For 2020. “ObamaCare was thrust back into the 2020 spotlight on Wednesday after a federal appeals court ruling added new uncertainty over the law’s future.” [The Hill, 12/19/19

ABC News: There Is No “Viable Alternative” To The ACA. There is not currently a viable alternative to the law that can pass the House and Senate and get signed into law by Trump. Trump told ABC News in June that he will be unveiling a “phenomenal” health care plan within the next two months. He never did so.” [ABC, 12/18/19

The Hill “The Ruling Keeps The Legal Threat To Obamacare Alive.” “The ruling keeps the legal threat to ObamaCare alive and could push the ultimate decision on the case past 2020.”  [The Hill, 12/18/19