A federal judge ruled the ACA is unconstitutional. Here's what you need to know
A federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act late Friday, ruling that the landmark health law is unconstitutional just as open enrollment for next year's ACA marketplaces wrapped up. Here's what you need to know:
- The background: Earlier this year, 22 GOP state attorneys general filed a lawsuit taking aim at the ACA. They argue that without the penalty fee — which Congress axed late last year — the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional. And since the mandate is the "heart of the ACA," they argue the rest of the law “must also fall.”
- The Trump administration's take: The Justice Department, which filed a brief in the lawsuit, didn't defend the individual mandate or the law's protections for pre-existing conditions, but said the rest of the ACA could stand. A group of 16 states and D.C. stepped in to defend the law fully.
- The next steps: The ruling likely won't have any effect right now on ACA enrollees. The lawsuit will likely be appealed to a federal appellate court, and from there could make its way to the Supreme Court. It's not clear yet what the ruling might mean for ACA enrollees in the long run — or how the court fight might play out.