Rep. Sires Issues Statement on Lawsuit Against Affordable Care Act

Trenise Bryant joins a rally for the Affordable Care Act in Miami Florida on Aug. 3 2017

Douglas Letter, the House of Representatives' general counsel, argued that since Congress had not repealed the rest of Obamacare, it never meant to invalidate the entire law.

With Trump's encouragement, Republican lawmakers repeatedly tried to repeal the law, ultimately failing in July 2017 when the late John McCain, the maverick from Arizona, made a thumbs-down gesture on the Senate floor.

The hearing at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals - which pits blue states defending the law against red states and the Trump administration seeking its repeal - has also raised the possibility that the health care law might survive only in parts of the country.

Flentje contended that if the 5th Circuit agrees with the lower court that the entire ACA is unconstitutional, the only states that would be affected are Texas and the 17 GOP-led states that have joined with it.

Lawyers for California and other Democratic-led states, along with the Democratic-run US House of Representatives, countered on Tuesday that even without a tax penalty, the individual mandate remains constitutional, as does the entire ACA.

One of the nation's most conservative federal appeals courts heard opening arguments Tuesday in a case that could determine the future of the Affordable Care Act and seemed destined to make its way to the Supreme Court.

The Kaiser Family Foundation provides an excellent explainer on the implications of the case: "The trial court's decision has not yet been implemented".

Republican opponents call the law an unwarranted intervention by government in health insurance markets, while supporters say striking it down would threaten the healthcare of 20 million people who have gained insurance since its enactment.

"The district court ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA would wreak havoc on the entire health care system, destabilize health insurance coverage, and roll back federal health policy to 2009", AMA immediate Past-president Barbara L. McAneny, MD, said back in April.

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In a brief filed with the appeals court, legal scholars from both sides of the fight over the ACA agreed that the Texas lawsuit's underlying claim makes no sense.

When the administration first weighed in on the case, in June 2018, it said it believed that without the tax penalty only the ACA provisions most closely connected to that penalty - including requiring insurers to sell policies to people with preexisting conditions - should be struck down.

After Trump signed a tax bill passed by a Republican-led Congress that reduced the tax penalty to zero dollars, a coalition of Republican-led states headed by Texas sued, alleging the tax penalty's elimination rendered Obamacare unconstitutional. But it argued the rest of the law should remain intact.

The judges focused on whether Obamacare lost its legal justification after Trump in 2017 signed a law that eliminated a tax penalty used to enforce the law's mandate that all Americans buy health insurance. In March, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department said it had "determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal".

The ultimate outcome of Tuesday's case will affect protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansions covering roughly 12 million people, and subsidies that help about 10 million others afford health insurance.

Democratic leaders in both the Senate and the House on Tuesday warned their Republican colleagues of the costs - both political and financial - the loss of the popular ObamaCare would incur.

Wall said she was denied healthcare prior to the ACA.

"The stakes can't be higher", Schumer said.

If the law is struck down, it could result in 19.9 million people losing coverage, according to an analysis from the left-leaning Urban Institute, a think tank. Millions of people's lives nothing less are on the line.

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