Federal Appeals Court Remands Texas V. US Court Case on ACA

A federal appeals court ruled today in Texas v. U.S. that the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded back to Judge Reed O'Conner the question of whether to strike the entirety of the Affordable Care (ACA), as advocated by President Trump's Department of Justice. 

For immediate release: December 18th, 2019

Contact: Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access, 916-532-2128 (cell) 



  • Federal appeals court rules individual mandate unconstitutional in Texas v. U.S. lawsuit, but remands question of “severability” and whether ACA should be struck down entirely. This continues the risk of health care being ripped away from tens of millions of Americans, at least 5 million in California alone–and the consumer protections for millions more. This court case could undo all pre-existing condition protections, as well as eliminate premium subsidies, expanded Medicaid, preventive services, and much more. 
  • California AG Xavier Becerra was granted standing, and continues to lead the appeal, given catastrophic impact in California on coverage and consumer protections. California would lose over $25 billion for our health system which is more than CA spends on higher education and prisons combined.
  • Until a final ruling – possibly at the Supreme Court in 2020 or later – California will continue signing up consumers (enrollment is open now), and work to implement and improve on the ACA, ultimately toward the goal of universal coverage.

SACRAMENTO, CA– A federal appeals court ruled today in Texas v. U.S. that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded back to Judge Reed O’Conner the question of whether to strike the entirety of the Affordable Care (ACA), as advocated by President Trump’s Department of Justice. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was granted standing to continue to lead the appeal. If Judge O’Conner rules as he did before, and his decision is upheld, ultimately at the Supreme Court, such a decision could take away coverage from millions of Californians and Americans, and undo consumer protections from millions more.

“While this court case continues, California consumers should continue to sign up for coverage, and otherwise take advantage of the access the ACA provides, including the new affordability assistance now available in Covered California,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “As California seeks to implement and improve the law, we must also protect the progress we’ve made from being undone by this loopy legal attack that threatens the coverage and consumer protections for millions. This court case could have catastrophic consequences, not just striking protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but undoing coverage and affordability assistance for tens of millions of Americans–over five million in California alone. Through this Texas lawsuit, the Trump Administration is seeking to use the courts to undo all the coverage expansions and consumer protections that voters resoundingly endorsed in the last election.”

“We are thankful our Attorney General Xavier Becerra is being allowed to continue to lead the appeal, working to protect the progress made here in California and countrywide,” continued Wright. “California has the most to lose from this legal attack on the ACA. California saw the largest drop in the uninsured rate of all 50 states since 2013, after having one of the highest rates in the nation. What the Texas judge ruled, and is being asked to rule on again, is whether to defund California’s health system by over $25 billion/year which is more than what the state spends on all of higher education, and all of prisons, combined.”

“While California can and has done a lot to counter the federal government’s sabotage of our health system, the striking down of the ACA, as advocated by the Trump Administration, may be too overwhelming to overcome, said Wright. “Our state is taking positive steps to expand coverage, and planning for even broader reforms, but even California can’t go it alone and would face a monumental task just to make up what would be lost. California has no other option but to continue to fight, against those seeking to go back to the days of denials for pre-existing conditions, and millions more uninsured.”

For more on California’s efforts to block the federal sabotage of the ACA, see this Health Access fact sheet: https://health-access.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/CA-Resistance-to-Trump-Sabotage_updated-8.20.19.pdf

For more on what’s at risk in California if the ACA is fully repealed, visit https://health-access.org/reform-coverage/fight4ourhealth/.

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