Obamacare, the signature domestic achievement of Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, has been a political flashpoint since its passage. He pointed to lawmakers' multiple votes to keep the law despite Republican opposition. They claimed the Supreme Court exclusively upheld the ACA as a result of it was below Congress's taxing power, and that subsequently the complete regulation was invalidated. Republican attorneys general and governors registered Texas v.
"Congress expressed its views that the individual market and the entire ACA can operate without an enforceable individual mandate", said Samuel Siegel, an attorney for California in his arguments during the hearing.
Since the administration is not defending the law, Democratic attorneys general and members of the House are leading the appeal.
The Supreme Court's conservative majority argued that Congress could not constitutionally order people to buy insurance. They also contended that by setting the penalty to $0, Congress had rendered the mandate a choice instead of a command. They wish he had done something different.
It's unclear when the panel will rule in a case that appears destined for the Supreme Court, which has reviewed the law before.
Under President Donald Trump's 2017 tax overhaul, however, Congress eliminated the penalty for people who failed to sign up, and the three judges must decide whether that change invalidates the whole law.
The ruling was stayed pending appeal.
SHAPIRO: A few months later in 2017, Republicans found a new strategy.
The Trump administration, which in 2018 made the unusual decision not to defend the law, now fully backs Texas' lawsuit and is urging a full repeal.
This new case could be the most consequential test of Obamacare yet. A GOP plan in Congress to replace the ACA, the American Health Care Act, did not find enough support. This is unacceptable. We should be working together toward commonsense solutions that lower costs and expand quality coverage, not yanking the rug out from under millions of Americans who depend on the ACA to obtain life-saving treatment and critical care.
The judges focused on whether Obamacare lost its legal justification after Trump in 2017 signed a law that eliminated a tax penalty used to enforce the law's mandate that all Americans buy health insurance. But now its Justice Department is agreeing with Texas that the entire law should be struck down because, they insist, the law's many provisions are intertwined.
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While the red states and the Trump administration are technically adversaries in this challenge, their lawyers sat at the same table during the hearing and told the judges they both think Obamacare is unlawful.
But appellate judges Kurt Engelhardt and Jennifer Walker Elrod both noted the law still says people must buy insurance.
Judge Carolyn King, who was appointed by former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, did not ask any questions during the hour-and-a-half hearing.
"Remember that the kinds of provisions here that would be struck down if there's no severability are, for example, the provision about when you can be denied or charged more insurance for preexisting conditions", Letter said.
Elrod asserted that linking the individual mandate to a "revenue-producing" measure was "essential".
"It is crucial we continue to defend and improve upon the ACA".
"Why does Congress want the ... judiciary to become the taxidermist for every legislative big-game accomplishment that Congress achieves?"
Today, the Affordable Care Act is on trial again, this time at a federal appeals court in Louisiana. Engelhardt was nominated by President Donald Trump a year ago. The simple makeup of the high court does not make that easy. The Republican-appointed judges on the panel were skeptical of the argument, though.
The ACA could end up in front of the Supreme Court right in the middle of the 2020 election.
Those moves recalled the Obamacare decision that, even seven years later, defines him in the public eye.