A Texas judge ruled in favor of the Republican attorneys general who argued that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be struck down since Congress, earlier this year, repealed the individual mandate as part of their tax overhaul legislation. The ruling, which was a surprise, thrusts the ACA debate back into the forefront as Democrats are set to take over the House and the 2020 election cycle is underway.
Other than President Trump, who hailed the ruling as a victory, most Republicans are distancing themselves from the ruling. They are calling on Congress to work together to develop a bipartisan solution to ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions are protected. House Democrats have indicated that they will move immediately in January with a vote defending the ACA, which will be symbolic and put them on record as supporting patient protections.
On the 2018 campaign trail, Democrats campaigned against Republicans by using pre-existing conditions as a major issue. Looking towards 2020, Republicans have more than 20 seats to defend in the Senate, and many who voted to repeal the individual mandate will likely see this court ruling as a major issue against them.
Most experts believe the case will remain in the courts for the next few years with appeals likely and even a Supreme Court decision. Despite the president’s approval of the ruling, the Department of Health and Human Services moved to assure people that ACA is still the law of the land and people should still sign up for coverage, since nothing will change in the immediate future.
When the 116th Congress convenes in early January 2019, AGA urges Congress to return to regular order and work in a bipartisan manner to ensure that patients have access to and coverage of quality health care. We call on Congress to enact legislation that contains essential patient protections and other improvements to ensure affordability, accessibility and quality health care for all Americans. Read more.