Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

ObamaCare's future uncertain as it goes back on trial: What to know

ObamaCare's future uncertain as it goes back on trial: What to know

The future of the United States's Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, could be at stake on Tuesday when a group of Democratic-led states and the House of Representatives urge a federal appeals court to overturn a Texas judge's ruling that the USA healthcare reform law is unconstitutional.

"Our argument is simple", Becerra said in a written statement released Friday.

If they uphold the lower court decision, millions of Americans, many of them sickly or lower income individuals, would be in danger of losing their health care coverage.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is set to hear oral arguments in the case of Texas v. Azar, a suit spearheaded past year by 20 Republican-leaning attorneys general (led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton) and endorsed by President Trump.

Federal appeals court judges expressed skepticism Tuesday that the almost decade-old law that refashioned the nation's health-care system should remain intact after Congress eliminated a tax penalty for Americans who fail to carry health insurance.

For all the drama, much of the presentations by attorneys and judges' questions turned on technical points, focusing largely on the matter of "severability" - whether the elements of the law can exist independent of one another - and whether the various parties to the case have legal standing to take part. More than 20 million more Americans are now covered by its provisions.

With Justice Department officials sidestepping the role of defending an existing federal statute, a coalition of Democratic state attorneys general, led by Becerra, moved into that position.

But Douglas Letter, an attorney for the U.S. House of Representatives, argued that the elimination of the tax penalty doesn't undermine the law's constitutionality. "Republicans tried to come up with a replacement plan for 10 years, and they couldn't do it", he says.

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The fate of former President Barack Obama's health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act, is once again in jeopardy. In that case, Obamacare would most likely end up back before the Supreme Court. Conservative justices had rejected the argument that Congress could require everyone to buy insurance under the Constitution's interstate commerce clause.

Without that "individual mandate" to buy insurance, O'Connor said, the entire law falls. But Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's four liberal members to hold the mandate was a valid exercise of Congress's tax power.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives has also been granted intervenor status in the case. But this year — the first time no fines will be collected — the number of people signing up for subsidized private insurance through the Affordable Care Act slipped only slightly. King was nominated to the appeals court by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Elrod was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush in 2007.

The government said in March that a total of 11.4 million people signed up during open enrollment season, a dip of about 300,000 from previous year.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), holding a picture of head-injury victim Emilie Saltzman, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lead fellow congressional Democrats for remarks on health care coverage of pre-existing conditions, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. July 9, 2019.

A key portion of the federal Affordable Care Act that gives protection to people with pre-existing conditions will soon be enshrined in New Hampshire state law.

"If they are successful in striking down the Affordable Care Act, Republicans will own all of the consequences", Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on a call Monday with reporters.

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