What Obamacare ruling could mean for your health care

ACA site

If you like your Obamacare health plan, you can keep it - at least for now.

Though the federal government would have paid for Medicaid expansion for the first few years, MS would have had to pay 10 percent of the cost of expansion in later years.

The Affordable Care Act, once ruled constitutional because of the "individual mandate" provision, has been now ruled unconstitutional by a Texas judge - due to that provision being eliminated. The law also protects people with pre-existing conditions and allows people up to age 26 to be covered under their parents' insurance; requires calorie counts at restaurants and gives protections to lactating mothers.

From Nov. 1 to December 8, about 4.1 million people had signed up for coverage through the federal marketplace, with new enrollment in the 39 states that use the federal website Healthcare.gov is down by 20 percent compared with the same period past year. The legitimacy of that fee was part of the Supreme Court's justification for upholding the law in a previous challenge.

Once the mandate tax was removed, "there's no longer a constitutional basis for Obamacare". "The easiest thing for Congress to do right now is re-instate a $1 individual mandate penalty, or a meaningful penalty, and that would make the whole case go away".

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"It's absolutely ludicrous to hold that we do not know whether the 2017 Congress would have wanted the rest of the ACA to exist without an enforceable mandate, because the 2017 Congress did exactly that when it zeroed out the mandate and left the rest of the ACA standing", Yale Law School professor Abbe Gluck told the Washington Post.

But Kavanaugh's defenders have just as adamantly argued that his 2011 dissent actually supported the conclusion that the mandate is unconstitutional.

Judge O'Connor's ruling is not expected to become effective in the immediate future. All insurance plans are still required to provide a basic standard of benefits without lifetime caps as the law states. The process will take months at a minimum, even with the states pressing for a speedy resolution because of the uncertainty O'Connor's ruling creates and the potential effects on the insurance markets. But it will need to survive review by higher courts to have any effect on the program that's credited with expanding health insurance to about 19 million people in the U.S. Centene said in the "unlikely event" the courts strike down Obamacare, the company will file to offer plans that maintain protections for sicker Americans.

Numerous high-ranking Republican lawmakers have said they did not intend to also strike down popular provisions such as protection for people with pre-existing medical conditions when they repealed the ACA's fines for people who can afford coverage but remain uninsured.

"The pre-existing conditions (protections) was the part that got the most attention", Pallone said, adding that he wanted the House to pass the legislation and send it to the Senate. What's more, Republican efforts to repeal the ACA failed in the same Congress.

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"A confirming Supreme Court Decision will lead to GREAT HealthCare results for Americans", Trump tweeted Monday. "When the Supreme Court considered the law in 2012, Obamacare was not yet in effect".

But the department had argued that several other provisions of the law were severable from the tax penalty and could stand, including provisions establishing health insurance exchanges, expanding Medicaid coverage and subsidizing premiums for lower-income people.

"While the ruling will certainly be appealed and will not impact insurance premiums or plans for next year, we have a rare opportunity for truly bipartisan health care reform that protects those with pre-existing conditions", said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., departing chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

If millions were to lose insurance coverage at once, the costs for all consumers could skyrocket, says Kaiser health care analyst Larry Leavitt.

The opinion of federal Judge Reed O'Connor would be a shock to the health-care system, if it ever takes force. The decision and the ensuing developments are nonetheless potentially significant and merit attention by health care stakeholders.

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