Circuit Court Rules on ACA in Texas v. United States

On Dec. 18, the Fifth Circuit Court of the United States issued a decision in Texas v. United States, ruling the individual mandate unconstitutional but sending the case back down to the district court for further review about the fate of the entire Affordable Care Act.

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The Fifth Circuit Court of the United States invalidated the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Texas v. United States but remanded the case back to the district court to determine whether the law can stand without the mandate. The case will now be reheard in district court or appealed to the Supreme Court, as states defending the law have pledged to appeal the most recent decision.

Despite the ruling, the health care law currently remains unchanged as the case proceeds. This means that critical protections for people with cystic fibrosis and other pre-existing conditions are still intact; and individuals who purchased health insurance for 2020 from healthcare.gov or a state marketplace, or who rely on Medicaid coverage through expansions, will also remain insured. The CF Foundation will continue to monitor the case closely and keep the community updated.

“These rulings jeopardize critically important safeguards that enable people with pre-existing conditions to access and afford comprehensive insurance coverage,” said Mary Dwight, senior vice president of policy and advocacy at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “We will continue to fight alongside our community to ensure that policymakers understand the needs of people with CF and the vital role that adequate, affordable health insurance plays in supporting their health and wellbeing.”

In April 2018, the CF Foundation joined 16 other patient groups in filing an amicus (or friend-of-the-court) brief in the circuit court that outlined the potentially devastating impact striking down the health care law could have on the millions of Americans who rely on the ACA's critical protections. The CF Foundation and other amici organizations issued a statement on the circuit court ruling and will continue to speak out on behalf of patients.

The ruling comes after a district judge in Texas struck down the health care law in December 2018. In his ruling, the judge said that the Affordable Care Act could not stand without the individual mandate or a tax penalty for not having health insurance. The individual mandate was repealed by Congress in 2017.

The CF Foundation will monitor movement of the case and update the community. To stay up-to-date on this and other policy and advocacy issues at the Foundation, sign up for our advocacy alerts.

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