Utah leaders react to the uncertain fate of the Affordable Care Act


Last year, after a federal judge in Texas declared the entirety of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, throwing into question millions of Americans' health coverage, the state's Republican leaders promised they would come up with a plan to replace it.

A federal appeals court will hear arguments from 18 states and the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday in a case that has the potential to derail the Affordable Care Act almost a decade after it took effect. Those states argue that, because Congress zeroed out the tax penalty used as enforcement of the individual mandate in December 2017, the entire ACA is unconstitutional.

A federal appeals court sympathized Tuesday with Republicans who say Obamacare's "individual mandate" to hold insurance is no longer constitutional, though signaled they're reluctant to decide which parts of the program should fall with it.

In December, a Texas judge ruled in favor of the 20 states challenging the health care act, saying the entire ACA was invalid.

A number of Democratic-led states, led by California, and the U.S. House appealed the lower court's ruling invalidating the law, arguing that even though Congress eliminated the penalty, "doing so neither imposes any legal injury nor violates the Constitution", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra argued. It's survived more than 70 repeal attempts in Congress, and Supreme Court challenges in 2012 and 2015 since it became law in 2010.

Last week, the President said he would issue an executive order mandating a policy in which US payments for drugs would be capped at the lowest price paid by either a manufacturer or a developed country. Traditionally, an administration - even one that did not work to pass the law in question - defends existing law in court. Protections for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer and diabetes.

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Oral argument in Texas v.

"You are instructed to save everything [in the law] you can unless it's evident that Congress would not have meant that, would have preferred no statute", countered attorney Doug Letter, arguing on behalf of the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives.

"You establish something until we gather back together, and we collectively, as a body, determine what the best path forward is", Hancock said. This is unacceptable. We should be working together toward commonsense solutions that lower costs and expand quality coverage, not yanking the rug out from under millions of Americans who depend on the ACA to obtain life-saving treatment and critical care. When Congress wiped out that penalty in 2017, Republican states sued, arguing that the ACA could not survive because the mandate was no longer a lawful tax. Another 800,000 Pennsylvanians enrolled in Medicaid expansion also could lose coverage.

If successful, the Texas lawsuit would strip coverage from as many as 20 million people and eliminate scores of other health care protections, including prescription drug assistance for seniors who rely on the Medicare Part D program. "With lives at risk and a bipartisan chorus of economists, scholars and medical groups standing by our side, it's clear: This lawsuit has no regard for Americans' health, lives or the law". Because the case is before one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country, it is nearly guaranteed to wind up in the Supreme Court.

Support for rural hospitals, in particular, would be in jeopardy amid potential federal cuts to health care topping $5 billion, Casey said.

"A strong community is a healthy community, so it's in everyone's best interest to make sure that everyone has the healthcare that they need", she said.