The Affordable Care Act (ACA) statute was enacted during the tenure of President Obama in March of 2010. A couple of goals of the ACA were to create an affordable solution for all individuals to purchase health insurance and to expand the Medicaid program. One component to making the ACA successful was the requirement that everyone purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
On the 14th of December 2018, however, a Federal judge in Texas made a landmark ruling against the ACA. In his contentious ruling, Judge O’Connor invalidated the act’s mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a fine on the grounds that the legislation was unconstitutional, and it could not be sustained by Congress’s tax powers. O’Connor added that the act would be allowed to remain in place pending the final legal ruling. But, as of January 1, 2019, the penalty facing Americans who don’t maintain year-round health insurance was eliminated by Congress.
The potential invalidation of the ACA caused an up-welling of uncertainty in the American health industry. Without a doubt, if that decision is upheld, it will have pronounced ripple effects on virtually all Americans, according to an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee Law University, Tim Jost.
The potential invalidation of the ACA has continued to elicit mixed responses from both sides of the American political divide. The naysayers are questioning the merits to undo the act claiming that Judge O’Connor misinterpreted the law. According to the critics, Congress only intended to remove certain provisions of the ACA, not scrap it altogether.
The contentious legal battle is expected to move to either the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal or to the U.S Supreme Court. Professor Jost predicts that the case might drag on to the latter half of 2019 or it may proceed all the way to 2021.