US healthcare stocks drop after judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional

Geraldine Edwards
December 18, 2018

The case is likely to be appealed by a coalition of 16 states, as well as the District of Columbia, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and then eventually be heard before the Supreme Court.

WellCare Health Plans and Anthem Inc declined 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees those insurance exchanges, said in a tweet: "The recent federal court decision is still moving through the courts, and the exchanges are still open for business and we will continue with open enrollment".

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. But with that "tax" - or penalty - having been removed starting next year, Republicans challenging the law in this case argued the program is now illegal.

"It once again puts Republicans in Washington on the spot", Sen. So about 12 million people who gained coverage could be left uninsured.

"We'll be able to get great health care", Trump said Saturday during an unannounced visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where a "Wreaths Across America" holiday wreath-laying event was under way. NPR's Kodjak reports people can still enroll in health plans in states with extended deadlines.

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Republican state officials, led by the attorney general of Texas, filed a lawsuit past year arguing that getting rid of the penalty rendered the mandate unconstitutional.

In the nearly nine years since the ACA passed, the provisions of the law have become so interwoven into the USA health care policy and legal landscape, it is nearly impossible to comprehend how Congress, the administration and stakeholders could begin to unwind it.

Matt Borsch, health-care analyst at BMO Capital, he sees Friday's decision as a buying opportunity for health-care stocks because he thinks the decision will likely be overturned on appeal.

If the Fifth Circuit were to affirm the decision, the Supreme Court would nearly certainly grant review. "A confirming Supreme Court Decision will lead to GREAT HealthCare results for Americans!"

"The judge's ruling was far too sweeping".

The ACA, introduced by former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010 to provide affordable healthcare to all Americans, mandates that all individuals have health insurance or pay a tax.

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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.

The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that the individual mandate was a valid exercise of Congress' taxation powers, with the law imposing a monetary penalty on people who did not obtain insurance.

Judge Reed O'Connor's opinion was issued late Friday, and supporters of the law vowed to appeal and take other steps to preserve health benefits in the law sometimes called "Obamacare". He found that the individual insurance mandate couldn't be legally separated from the rest of the law - so the entire package would have to be struck down because of the mandate's removal. Congress reduced that penalty to zero as part of the tax legislation it passed, and President Donald Trump signed, in 2017.

"It affects nearly everyone in America", said Tim Jost, a specialist in health law and a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University.

"As always, the Trump administration stands ready to work with Congress on policy solutions that will deliver more insurance choices, better healthcare, and lower costs while continued to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions".

A federal judge's ruling Friday that Obamacare is unconstitutional poses a threat to the credit quality of some USA states, as well as to hospitals and insurance companies, S&P Global Ratings warned.

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