The Affordable Care Act, passed and implemented during the Obama administration, has been the overarching healthcare law since 2010. This law mandated that each individual must have health insurance coverage, or face a penalty on their federal taxes. The law provided access to coverage options through the healthcare exchange and allowed individuals to apply for subsidies to help pay for coverage based on their income. It also allocated money to allow states to expand the conditions required to qualify for Medicaid coverage, but left the implementations of this piece to the state government.
This law has been appealed multiple times, making it to the Supreme Court twice. Each time, it has been upheld and the law has continued. President Trump and his supporters have vowed to repeal the law and replace it with a better alternative. The last attempt to do this was thwarted when Senator John McCain voted against the Republican alternative and sent politicians back the drawing board.
On Friday evening, the night before the healthcare exchange closes for insurance enrollment beginning in Jan 2019, a judge in Texas ruled the law unconstitutional. The main citation was that the mandate was unconstitutional and the rest of the law could not be separated from this provision, meaning the entire law had to be unconstitutional.
As mentioned before, appeals and rulings such as these have happened in the past. However, just as in the past, it sends shockwaves through the system, from the individuals buying insurance to physicians to healthcare and hospital systems to insurance companies. The effect of this ruling still remains to be unseen, but the uncertainty caused by such a ruling is enough to make an impact.
Democrats, Insurance companies, and Health Systems have all vowed to fight this ruling and only time will tell what will happen next. In the meantime, the healthcare exchange is still open until it’s closing date of December 15 (Today!). If you are need of coverage, options are still available through the end of the day.
We will continue to update on this topic as more information is released and keep you all as up to date as possible.