ACA remains in place after federal judge rules it unconstitutional; appeals process to take months

Posted on: 12/19/18

A federal judge in Texas late Friday ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because Congress repealed the tax penalty enforcing the law’s individual mandate. “In sum, the Individual Mandate is so interwoven with [the ACA’s] regulations that they cannot be separated. None of them can stand,” U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in his decision.

However, the ACA will stand as is for now during an extensive appeals process that is expected to take months or even years. The ruling has no immediate impact on any ACA program and does not give the Administration clear authority to alter any ACA program. Meanwhile, the decision will be immediately appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, according to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

It is important for hospitals to reassure their patients and communities that the ruling does not alter the ACA in the immediate future and that they should expect their Marketplace coverage to continue over the coming year, as well as important consumer protections put in place by the ACA.