What Obamacare ruling could mean for your health care

3 Key Questions About the Obamacare Court Ruling                 

     

     MIKE BLAKE

In a word, nothing.

Klobuchar said federal law dictates Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) tell Congress within 24 hours if someone in dies its custody. "This could all be an excellent buying opportunity depending on magnitude of moves and the next steps around another court entering a stay", Holz wrote.

From Nov. 1 to December 8, about 4.1 million people had signed up for coverage through the federal marketplace, with new enrollment in the 39 states that use the federal website Healthcare.gov is down by 20 percent compared with the same period previous year.

The ruling, which was issued Friday by Judge Reed O'Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, holds that the federal mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance is unconstitutional, and that as a outcome, the whole of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legally invalid. Health care was the top issue for about one-fourth of voters in the November election, ahead of immigration and jobs and the economy, according to VoteCast, a nationwide survey for the Associated Press.

More than 170 million Americans are covered by employers and they could lose no-cost preventive care, from screening tests like colonoscopies to birth control for women. That could include the section that allows parents to keep young adult children on their coverage until age 26. Gone would be limits on annual out-of-pocket expenses, which provide greater financial protection for people with job-based coverage. Program finances would also take a hit. It came a day before open enrollment was to end for coverage under the health law for the coming year.

A key part of the Affordable Care Act that Obama signed into law in 2010 was the provision requiring people to have health insurance or pay a penalty if they refused. In 2017, Congress effectively rendered the mandate a legal nullity by reducing the tax penalty for not purchasing insurance to zero effective 2019. That means that beginning in January, there no longer will be a penalty for not purchasing health insurance.

Republican state officials, led by the attorney general of Texas, filed a lawsuit a year ago arguing that getting rid of the penalty rendered the mandate unconstitutional.

"As the individual mandate was an essential element of the ACA, the whole of Obamacare was therefore unconstitutional", O'Connor said.

What is Plan B if the entire law is struck down?

The White House applauded O'Connor's ruling, but said the law remains in place while appeals proceed.

Regardless, even if Kavanaugh and Trump-nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch were to side with the rest of the conservative wing against the law, Roberts would be needed to constitute a majority. Republicans who tried to undermine those safeguards during their failed effort to repeal the health law a year ago were forced on the defensive and went on record saying they, too, want to make sure people with health problems can get coverage. How Appealing links to additional stories. The Trump administration declined to defend the mandate, spurring Democratic officials in 16 states to intervene. The opinion is likely to be appealed, and the final decision may ultimately lay with the US Supreme Court.

O'Connor did not issue an injunction preventing enforcement of the law. But even then, the Supreme Court wouldn't hear the case before the fall of 2019 at the earliest, with a decision unlikely before the spring of 2020 - in the midst of the presidential and congressional campaigns.

The Healthcare.gov website is seen on a laptop computer on May 18, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

"Today's ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA's consumer protections for health care, on America's faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans", a spokeswoman for Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general, said in a statement. The nation's uninsured rate could edge up again.

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