Judicial Invalidation of the Affordable Care Act
Hodge JG. Judicial invalidation of the Affordable Care Act. Jurist. December 19, 2018
4 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2019
Date Written: December 17, 2018
Since its enactment in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided meaningful coverage for millions of Americans, reformed the national health insurance and health care delivery infrastructure, and assured basic public health services through core funding. Enforcing the ACA has also entailed a multitude of political and legal challenges including (1) dozens of failed attempts by Congress to repeal its provisions, (2) multiple federal regulatory waivers, and (3) considerable judicial adjustments.
On December 14, 2018, federal district court Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the entire ACA is unconstitutional. The decision in Texas v. United States was anticipated for months. If upheld on appeal, it could spell the end of every protection, program, subsidy, and incentive framed in the ACA not otherwise waived or dismantled by prior or current administrations. This commentary explains the core premises for the court’s decision, disputes its legal foundations, and assesses future law and policy options for courts, Congress, and Americans facing the loss of popular ACA protections and benefits.
Keywords: Affordable Care Act, ACA, courts, invalidation, Texas, severability, mandate, constitutional
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