No immediate ruling in GOP's latest 'Obamacare' lawsuit

Judge presses ObamaCare supporters during arguments on future of health law | TheHill

Judge presses ObamaCare supporters during arguments on future of health law | TheHill

"If necessary we're ready to go to the appellate court", a spokesperson for the California Department of Justice, which defended the health law in court, told The Hill on Wednesday. They're asking a USA district court judge in Fort Worth to end the Affordable Care Act because they say it's unconstitutional.

The researchers attributed the small increase in the number of undocumented immigrants reporting they had health insurance and a usual source of care to the introduction, after the passage of the health care law, of state and local government programs offering health insurance to some undocumented people.

Presiding over the case is Judge Reed O'Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, who was appointed by President George W. Bush. Now they're attacking the most important life-saving protection in the law.

After several legal challenges and scores of unsuccessful votes in Congress, arguments began in Texas Wednesday in a suit brought by 20 Republican attorneys general seeking to gut the ACA for good.

They are asking the judge to block the law immediately and not wait until the case is finally decided.

The penalty was also critical to the health care law's survival when it first came before the Supreme Court in 2012 in a lawsuit that alleged the law's insurance requirement was unconstitutional.

The state attorney general's legal team argued that once Congress ended the penalty on Obamacare as part of its tax overhaul, the Affordable Care Act became unconstitutional.

Across the country this summer, Democratic congressional candidates have made preserving the health care law's protections a cornerstone of their campaigns.

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The GOP plaintiffs say the law needs to be stopped immediately, "both because individuals will make insurance decisions during fall open-enrollment periods and because the States can not turn their employee insurance plans and Medicaid operations on a dime", according to their brief.

Hernandez says Californians will be better off without them. The challengers argue that because the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the rest of ObamaCare should be struck down, too.

That means a popular part of the law that protects people with pre-existing conditions from being denied health insurance or being priced out of a health plan could be eliminated in Texas, for example, but not in California. While the health law requires coverage for all conditions without extra premiums, the GOP bill would require that insurers sell to people with preexisting conditions, but not that those policies actually cover those conditions.

Yes, there's a lot on the line for people covered through their employers, as well as those insured through the law.

The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, and a group of 17 state attorneys general, two governors, and two individual plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), urging the court to overturn the entire health care law now that the individual mandate penalty was eliminated by Congress.

A stagnation of incomes across the board, coupled with an expansion of Medicaid and other health-insurance payments, has helped the middle class benefit from so-called wealth redistribution just as much as the poorest Americans. Annual and lifetime limits on coverage would once again be permitted, and there would be no cap on out-of-pocket costs.

The Republican attorneys general say they still believe the entire law should be invalidated, but if that does not happen, they would accept the elimination of the preexisting condition protections. As the Wall Street Journal points out, "insurers would still be able to exclude any coverage related to that condition ... and could vary premiums based on age and gender". According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's latest tracking poll, 72 percent of those surveyed said it is "very important" to them that insurance companies remain prohibited from charging sick people more.

O'Connor expressed skepticism that the pre-existing condition protections could be separated, saying previous judges who examined the issue found those sections inseparable.

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