Just before Christmas, a federal Texas judge, Reed O’Connor, ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was unconstitutional. This all began December 2017, when President Trump eliminated the individual mandate from Obamacare. The individual mandate was the penalty people had to pay during tax season if they did not get health insurance for the year. When the mandate was officially gone, many states decided to take action against the ACA, filing a lawsuit deeming the ACA unconstitutional. Texas is the first state to rule against the ACA’s validity. Obamacare may now face some challenges. However, as of now the ACA open enrollment will still take place for 2019, and people will still get coverage.
If the ACA is completely dismantled, then this means that other provisions would go away as well. This includes pre-existing conditions, young adults staying on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, and the coverage of “essential benefits” such as mental health, prescription drugs, and maternity.
The ACA Holds Up For Now
In response to the judgement from O’Connor, Obama wrote “it’s so important for you to know that last night’s ruling changes nothing for now. As this decision makes its way through the courts, which will take months, if not years, the law remains in place and will likely stay that way. Open enrollment is proceeding as planned today. And a good way to show that you’re tired of people trying to take away your health care is to go get covered! A lot of good people are fighting to ensure that nothing about your care will change. The ACA protects your pre-existing conditions, no matter how you get your insurance. Young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. Preventive care like checkups, mammograms, and contraceptive care are still covered. Mental health care is still covered. Women can’t be charged more just for being a woman. All of that is guaranteed by the ACA as long as it’s the law.”
Trump on the other hand was happy of the judgement stating in a tweet, “It was a big, big victory by a highly respected judge, highly, highly respected in Texas, and on the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we will get great, great health care for our people. We’ll have to sit down with the Democrats to do it, but I’m sure they want to do it also.”
What The Future Holds
While legal experts predict that the decision will be overturned by the high court, it will not be likely to take place until 2020. Until then, the ACA law is not yet invalidated, even though enrollment has taken a hit. Enrollment is down by 12% compared to the previous year. The ACA has withheld a lot over the years, and only time will tell it’s future, but as for now, it is here to stay.