Appeals Court Issues Ruling on ObamaCare

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals declines to reconsider individual mandate
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2020 7:30 PM CST
This May 11, 2017, file photo shows an Obamacare sign being displayed on the storefront of an insurance agency in Hialeah, Fla.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

(Newser) – Reconsider the constitutionality of ObamaCare? We'd rather not. So said the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday in a mostly partisan 8-6 vote that left the health-care law in legal limbo, CNN reports. The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals made its decision after ruling 2-1 in December that ObamaCare's individual mandate was unconstitutional. One of the judges on the court, still unidentified, asked the 5th Circuit to rule again with the full panel present. The eight who ruled "nay" were appointed by Republican presidents, while all but one of the six "yays" were appointed by Democrats, three by President Obama.

Meanwhile, California and other blue states have appealed the December ruling to the Supreme Court, but it declined to expedite the case—so the high-court ruling might come after the 2020 election, the Hill notes. To recap, the individual mandate required most Americans to buy health insurance or incur a penalty. But as the New York Times explained last month, that became unconstitutional after Congress shrank the penalty to nothing in a 2017 tax overhaul bill. Whether that makes ObamaCare itself unconstitutional remains an open question. Meanwhile, Obama's signature health-care law remains in effect. (Read more in our rundown of what it all means.)

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