Millions of people are wondering today whether their insurance will be impacted by Friday’s controversial ruling by a federal judge in Texas. The judge declared the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. The decision essentially means Obamacare would cease to exist. Expect an appeal and a potentially long legal battle in the courts and in Congress. In the meantime here’s what you need to know. The New York Times reports:
The health law is likely to continue in place while the case moves to the higher courts. California, the leader of a group of states that stepped in to defend the law because the Justice Department refused to do so, will almost certainly go to the Fifth Circuit — the federal appellate court that presides over Texas — to have the effects of the decision paused and the case reviewed. The House of Representatives will also likely join the lawsuit once the Democrats take control.
The timing couldn’t be more confusing for the millions of people who buy their own health insurance on the exchanges created by the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Saturday (midnight PST) is the last day to choose a health insurance plan for 2019, and there is usually a surge of signups as the deadline nears.
Consumer Reports says that people who need healthcare from the exchanges should continue to sign up today before the deadline, and that those with employer-sponsored healthcare also should not worry because the ruling in the short term does not affect their coverage.
As for who might be impacted, Time magazine says:
If the entire health law is invalidated, popular provisions that benefit Medicare beneficiaries and people with employer coverage would also be scrapped. That could include the section that allows parents to keep young adult children on their coverage until age 26.
About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote. Currently, about 10 million have subsidized private insurance through the health law’s insurance markets, while an estimated 12 million low-income people are covered through its Medicaid expansion.
As for what this means for politicians and specifically the GOP party? Donald Trump wrote, “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!” The majority of Americans may not be celebrating though. Gallup recently found “64% want the ACA kept in place.”
This could be a nightmare for Republicans in suburbs and swing states.
- The midterms proved that the ACA has gotten more popular since the GOP started trying to repeal it — especially the protections for pre-existing conditions.
- If the law goes away, that goes with it. This is not the fight Republicans want to have.
Watch more above from CBS.