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'Case With Enormous Stakes': ObamaCare in Court Once More - Page 2

Validity of healthcare law is subject of appeal hearing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 9, 2019 2:48 PM CDT

  • With no tax penalty now in effect, the Texas lawsuit argues, the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must fall without it. Texas-based US District Judge Reed O'Connor agreed in a December ruling. The law's supporters appealed.
  • The Trump administration is not defending the law and has filed arguments in favor of O'Connor's ruling.
  • California's attorney general represents a coalition of mostly Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia seeking to overturn O'Connor's ruling and uphold the law. The House of Representatives has joined them.
  • Among the arguments by the law's supporters: Those who filed suit have no case because they aren't harmed by a penalty that doesn't exist; the reduction of the tax penalty to zero could be read as a suspension of the tax, but the tax's legal structure still exists; and, even if the individual mandate is now unconstitutional, that does not affect the rest of the law known as the Affordable Care Act.
  • When the law was proposed, the tax was seen as essential to persuade healthy people to get insured, thereby keeping premiums in check. But this year—the first time no fines will be collected—signups slipped only slightly. The government said in March that 11.4 million people signed up during open enrollment season, a dip of about 300,000 from last year.
  • Scheduled to hear Tuesday's arguments were 5th Circuit Judges Carolyn Dineen King, Jennifer Walker Elrod, and Kurt Engelhardt. King was nominated to the appeals court by President Carter in 1979. Elrod was nominated by President Bush in 2007. Engelhardt was nominated by President Trump last year.
(Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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