In a two-sentence legal filing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday affirmed a district court judge’s December ruling to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.
The agency says it agrees with U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision that the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate invalidated the entire law. The DOJ’s brief stated: “With the amount of the tax set at zero, the remaining minimum coverage provision becomes simply precatory—precisely as the amending Congress intended. It is no more constitutionally objectionable than the ‘sense of the Congress’ resolutions that Congress often adopts.”
Prior to this position, the Trump administration showed support for some ACA provisions, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions and Medicaid expansion.
Shortly after O’Connor’s ruling, a coalition of Democratic attorneys general appealed it. The law remains in place while the case moves through the court system.
The DOJ must file a full brief within 30 days.
CMS: State ACA Enrollment Rises, Federal Enrollment Dips Slightly
States running their own healthcare exchanges are maintaining enrollment levels better than the federal exchange, according to 2019 enrollment data released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In 2019, 11.4 million Americans enrolled in ACA plans. That is a 2.6 percent overall decrease from 2018. States that run their own exchanges saw a 1 percent increase in enrollment, while states on the federal exchange dropped 3.8 percent.
Regarding the report, CMS Administrator Seema Verma tweeted: “Steady enrollment through (the) exchanges, confirming another successful enrollment period at a time when premiums are stabilizing after years of substantial increases.”