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Affordable Care Act gets day in court

Appeals court scheduled to hear oral arguments, with no immediate decision expected.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

No decision is expected today on the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

The US. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was expected to hear oral arguments today starting at 2 p.m. Each side had 45 minutes to present its case.

Democrats are appealing a Texas court ruling striking down the ACA. Texas and 19 other Republican-led states brought the lawsuit last year, saying that without the individual mandate's tax penalty for not having coverage, the entire law is unconstitutional.

WHY THIS MATTERS

If the ACA is struck down, its provisions for essential benefits and coverage for pre-existing conditions will also be gone. While the Trump Administration has said it supports insurance that covers pre-existing conditions, Republicans have no replacement law ready to fill the coverage gap.

Providers would face more patients who have no insurance coverage. Insurers in the ACA market would face the loss of that business, which stabilized last year.
 
THE LARGER TREND

The case of Texas v. United States may be on its way to the Supreme Court, whatever the outcome of today's hearing.

ON THE RECORD

"The Trump Administration's position in the case is clear – they're siding with Republican leaders from across the country who want to eliminate protections for 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions; reinstate insurance companies' lifetime caps on coverage; raise prescription costs for nearly 12 million seniors; and get rid of the Medicaid expansion that helped 17 million Americans gain coverage," said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com