5th Circuit upheld the lower court ruling that the Obamacare mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded to the District Court for further consideration of whether that means the entire law falls.
A year ago almost to the day, we reported that a Texas federal judge (1) held that the Obamacare individual mandate was unconstitutional after Congress repealed the mandate tax (which was the justification for the Supreme Court upholding the mandate in 2012), and (2) the mandate was not severable from the rest of the law, so the entire law fell.
It was a full defeat of Obamacare, Federal Judge kills Obamacare:
Reed O’Connor, a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas, just killed Obamacare.
If the ruling holds up on appeal, Obamacare is dead. As a doorknob. Not just the mandate or some other particular provisions.
He killed the WHOLE THING.
The 5th Circuit just (1) upheld the ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional, but (2) remanded to the District Court for further consideration of severability. So perhaps the headline today is not that the 5th Circuit killed Obamacare, but rather, the 5th Circuit cut the legs out from under Obamacare. Whether the entire legless law falls is yet to be determined.
You can read the full 98-page opinion here. Here is a summary section from the Opinion:
First, there is a live case or controversy because the intervenor-defendant states have standing to appeal and, even if they did not, there remains a live case or controversy between the plaintiffs and the federal defendants. Second, the plaintiffs have Article III standing to bring this challenge to the ACA; the individual mandate injures both the individual plaintiffs, by requiring them to buy insurance that they do not want, and the state plaintiffs, by increasing their costs of complying with the reporting requirements that accompany the individual mandate. Third, the individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power. Fourth, on the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist.
MORE TO FOLLOW
For ACA supporters there is nothing positive in this ruling by the 5th circuit.
The panel sides with the GOP in declaring the AC individual mandate unconstitutional & remands the final decisions on what parts of the law should fall to the judge who already said it should all go.
— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) December 18, 2019
..to determine exactly which parts of the law should be blown up, it is entirely likely that the big issue in the 2020 elections will be healthcare. Democrats better find a way to unite on their message, because they have a huge advantage here that they could fritter away
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) December 18, 2019
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