What You Need To Know About the Obamacare Court Ruling

It has been a roller coaster ride for the majority of Americans who support the Affordable Care Act, as Republicans took every path they could to try to tear down Obamacare and end healthcare reform. Now, after a new court ruling out of Texas, the GOP may be closer than ever to their end goal of killing the ACA.

Here is everything you need to know about this weekend’s new court ruling against the Affordable Care Act:

What exactly did the judge rule?

A federal judge out of Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and struck it down in total. This probably seems confusing. After all, the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare constitutional a few years ago, so how can it be unconstitutional now? The difference is that in the original ruling, SCOTUS said the suit against Obamacare revolved around the idea that forcing people to pay a penalty if they don’t have insurance is a tax – and that they disagreed, calling the penalty an incentive instead.

So what was this law suit about?

This suit challenged the ACA again, now that the individual mandate was removed from the federal tax code during the big corporate and millionaire handout that happened when Republicans rewrote the tax rules. “The case against the ACA was brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, as well as two individuals. It revolves around Congress effectively eliminating the individual mandate penalty by reducing it to $0 as part of the 2017 tax cut bill. The mandate requires nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty,” CNN reports. “The Republican coalition, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is arguing that the change rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional. The states say that the voiding of the penalty, which takes effect next year, removes the legal underpinning the Supreme Court relied upon when it upheld the law in 2012 under Congress’ tax power.”

So Republicans not only rewrote the tax code to give themselves and their donors lots of money, but also to take a stab at killing Obamacare in the courts?

Yep.

What happens to all of the people on Obamacare insurance programs?

At this point, everything remains as is. The administration has agreed to leave everything in place for now until the Supreme Court hears the appeal – because this ruling will most definitely be getting appealed.

So people should still enroll?

If you are one of the people in a state with open enrollment beyond the December 15th deadline, or you have a qualifying life event (birth, job loss or change, or other circumstances), definitely go ahead and start the process. The Supreme Court would have to agree to hear the case, then put it on the docket, then deliberate and give a ruling. That’s at least a year’s worth of court action, so nothing is changing at the moment.

What are the odds that the Supreme Court will overrule the lower court?

Well, that’s hard to say. Five of the justices that were on the original 2012 case and upheld Obamacare are still on the bench. Justice Kennedy is gone, but has been replaced by Justice Kavanaugh, whom conservatives are suspicious isn’t as anti-Obamacare as they hoped. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing during the last case, but since this new tactic is meant to explicitly undermine his reason for doing so, his vote is up in the air as well.

So there’s no real sign of what might happen?

Well, Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins is hitting the airwaves saying that she expects the Supreme Court will overturn the Texas ruling. But she may just be still trying to justify her vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh this fall.

Can’t Congress just fix it?

Not terribly likely, unfortunately. Democrats control the House, and a number of the newly elected Representatives aren’t big Obamacare fans. But that’s because they think it should be repealed and replaced with a fix like Medicare for all. Meanwhile, the Senate still has a very slight GOP majority, and there is no way a plan that makes healthcare more accessible – and that eliminates massive profits for their big donors in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries – is going to fly.

Sadly, the most likely scenario is a deadlock in Congress and a decision in the courts to sort it out. Let’s just hope this happens before the 2020 elections, because if it does – and we really do lose coverage from pre-existing conditions, covering dependents until age 26 and the handful of other extremely popular Obamacare insurance changes – you can bet that will help Democrats take back the Senate and White House, too. And maybe then we will finally get the healthcare changes we really need.

Photo credit: Ted Eytan, via Flickr CC

38 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad A3 months ago

Thank you.

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD3 months ago

tyfs

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Loredana V
Loredana V3 months ago

Thanks for the info

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Tabot T
Tabot T3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Brian F
Brian F3 months ago

The ACA is a horrible Republican healthcare plan that leaves 29 million uninsured. We need Medicare for all, as proposed by Bernie Sanders and supported by over 70% of the people. Hopefully sane progressives like Ocasio Cortez, Tulsi Gabbard, and Bernie Sanders can take over the Democratic party and kick the corrupt stooges in charge, Pelosi and Schumer who refuse to support Medicare for all, out. It's time to kick the corrupt corporate fake Democrats who refuse to support Medicare for all, out of the party, and replace them with honest politicians like Ocasio Cortez.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O3 months ago

ok

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O3 months ago

th

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Julia R
Julia R3 months ago

ACA compared to such unaffordable insurance plans that didn't even cover pre-existing conditions and so many other things that were effectively out of reach for even the middle class (let alone the poor!) is a plan that saved many people from going bankrupt and helped most of them get the medical and preventative care that they need! Now the Republicans want to take it away! I don't think that they will succeed! People have shown from the last election just how popular ACA has become. But, I do hope it will become an even better health plan when hopefully, the Democrats will take control of the Senate and we will have a Democrat for a President instead of this corrupt and incompetent stooge who presently occupies the White House now.
is presently occuping the

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Brian F
Brian F3 months ago

Do the Republicans and Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer who oppose Medicare for all, have a better plan? Hell no. They just want the money our criminal healthcare industry is paying them.

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Janis K
Janis K3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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