On January 3rd, the U.S. House of Representatives and a number of Democrat-led states asked the U.S. Supreme Court to immediately take up the recent court of appeals decision in Texas v. United States of America that had invalidated the law’s individual mandate and threatened to invalidate other parts of the law, if not Obamacare in its entirety.
On December 18th, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had decided that Obamacare’s individual mandate was unconstitutional because it was no longer a tax, as Congress in 2017 had reduced the amount assessed for non-compliance to $0, and punted to a federal district judge the decision as to whether any or all of the remaining provisions of Obamacare could be “severed” from the unconstitutional part. Whatever could not be severed would be invalidated.
The Trump Administration’s Department of Justice once argued that only certain provisions of Obamacare were not severable, but more recently has argued that none of the rest of Obamacare was severable and that the entire law should be struck down.
It is anyone’s guess how soon the Supreme Court will rule and which way it will go. The result will be critical for the health insurance market and perhaps also for the 2020 presidential election.