Health care sector roils after ACA court ruling

Nora Nguyen
December 18, 2018

Judge Reed was nominated in 2007 by President George W. Bush to a seat on the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Pressure will now be on Republicans, who've decried the ACA for years, to offer alternatives that won't shut out sick people, as insurance markets routinely did before Obamacare. Opponents of the suit have vowed to appeal.

Judge O'Connor's decision reached more broadly than the DOJ requested and came a day before open enrollment ended nationally.

The Affordable Care Act has sharply reduced the number of uninsured Americans since 2010, covering 20 million more people than if the law had not taken effect, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The ACA also mandates coverage of certain "essential" insurance benefits, including maternity care. The DOJ argued that the remainder of the ACA was severable and should remain in place, however.

"We argued in an amicus brief before the court that provisions of the ACA affecting patients with pre-existing conditions, and those covered by Medicaid and Medicare should remain law regardless of what the court ruled on the individual mandate".

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Some conservative critics have accused him of providing the roadmap to save ObamaCare, citing a 2011 case where Kavanaugh dissented against the ruling but acknowledged the Affordable Care Act's "individual mandate provision" could fit "comfortably within Congress' Taxing Clause power".

US health-care stocks are poised for a potentially ugly trading session Monday as investors weigh in on a judge's ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional.

Insurance and physicians' groups were less enthusiastic.

O'Connor's decision will nearly certainly be appealed up to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which could ultimately send the case to the Supreme Court. "This decision denies coverage to more than 100 million Americans, including seniors, veterans, children, people with disabilities, hardworking Americans with low incomes, young adults on their parents' plans under age 26, and millions of Americans with preexisting conditions". Both insurers have a total ACA exposure of more than 40 percent of EPS, followed by WellCare Health Plans 10 percent, JPMorgan analyst Gary Taylor reminded investors in an email late Friday. The ACA, while providing limited protections for ordinary Americans, has funneled hundreds of millions into the coffers of the private insurers by forcing people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. The American Medical Association said blowing up Obamacare would roll back federal policy to 2009.

The Trump administration has made it clear that it will continue enforcing the law, as much as officials - including President Donald Trump himself - would like to see it eradicated. The decision has "no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan", Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote on Twitter.

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Congressional Democrats were quick to oppose the ruling in demagogic fashion.

Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal. "And if a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate say that this case should be overturned, it'll have a tremendous effect on the appeal", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press".

Political play. As many as 34 Republican lawmakers who voted to repeal Obamacare in 2017 saw their seats go to Democrats in the midterms. They say that the tax bill specifically elected to preserve the ACA's consumer protections despite eliminating the individual mandate penalty.

However, they have mounted only symbolic opposition to the Trump administration's assault on the social programs depended upon by millions of Americans to survive.

This proposal, not yet finalized, would increase exchange subsidies and make more people eligible for them. At the same time, they have voted to fund the Pentagon's $717 billion budget to pursue the USA military's criminal interventions across the globe. The Trump administration is not defending the Affordable Care Act, so Becerra and 16 other Democratic attorneys general have stepped in.

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Bob Corker of Tennessee, who leads the foreign relations committee on which Gardner sits. The 39 Republicans senators disagreeing with the move all cast no votes.

Thereafter, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would not defend the mandate or some of the ACA's key insurance market reform provisions.

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