HEALTH CARE REFORM

Developing Story: Doubt Grows as Obamacare Court War Enters Round 2

Heartburn over the survival of Obamacare is back with a vengeance. It reawakened seven months ago, after a Texas U.S. District Court found The Affordable Care Act unconstitutional—not just the individual mandate but the entire law! Proceedings on the appeal officially began on July 16. Of course, we all knew that an appeal was coming. And for those who want to see Obamacare continue, that was supposed to be good news. After all, the consensus among legal experts is that the lower court ruling wouldn’t stand.

That may ultimately prove true. But the opening signs suggest that the Fifth Circuit may be prepared to defy expectations. Just two hours into the first day of oral arguments, two of the judges on the three-judge panel, both Republican appointees, aggressively questioned the Democratic attorneys defending the law challenging them to explain how any part of the law can stand if, as all concede, the mandate is unconstitutional.

Should the Fifth Circuit do the unthinkable and strike down the entirety of the ACA, it will pave the way for a Supreme Court showdown, not to mention a massive wave of disruption in health insurance markets. We’ll keep you apprised as things develop. Meanwhile, for a complete analysis of the latest court challenge against Obamacare, see Lab Compliance Advisor (LCA), Dec. 31, 2018 and National Intelligence Report (NIR), April 15, 2019.

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