Texas Lawsuit Threatens ACA & Medicaid Expansion: But No Changes for Now

This past Friday night Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor issued a ruling in the Texas v. Azar lawsuit brought by 20 state attorneys general. Judge O’Connor’s found for the plaintiffs and struck down the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The most important things to know about the ruling are:

First, for now, nothing changes: the ACA remains the law of the land.

  • The Medicaid expansion in West Virginia and other states is still in place.
  • Judge O’Connor did not issue an injunction ordering the Administration to stop enforcing the law, and the White House issued a statement affirming that the ACA remains the law of the land pending appeal.
  • Healthcare.gov emailed consumers telling them that they should still sign up for coverage on the final day of open enrollment, and there will not be changes to their coverage for 2019.

Second, the ruling will be appealed, and the legal arguments are extraordinarily weak. 

  • Judge O’Connor’s decision hinges on the fact that the 2017 tax law zeroed out the penalty attached to the ACA’s individual mandate. The claim is that in zeroing out the penalty, Congress rendered not only the mandate but the entire ACA unconstitutional, effectively repealing the ACA as a byproduct of the tax bill.
  • Legal experts across the political spectrum, including experts who opposed the ACA and supported previous legal challenges to the law, have called that argument “absurd,” noting that Congress obviously intended to zero out the ACA mandate penalty without changing the rest of the law.
  • Seventeen state attorneys general (led by Xavier Becerra from California) had already intervened in the lawsuit to defend the ACA, and they will be able to continue to defend the law on appeal.
  • However, West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey has joined the lawsuit on the side to strike down the ACA and terminate both the Medicaid Expansion for 175,000 West Virginians and end the premium subsidies in the Marketplace for close to 30,000 West Virginians.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. Call on President Trump to reverse his position and have his Administration defend the ACA in court.

        Phone Number: 1-202-456-1111 

        TTY: 1-202-456-6213. 1-202-456-2121 (Visitor's Office)

        https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/white-house

2. Call on Attorney General Morrisey to remove West Virginia from the list of states that are on the side arguing to wipe out the ACA and Medicaid Expansion.

        304-558-2021

3. Call on West Virginia’s United States Congressional delegation to reject the decision, support an appeal to overturn the ruling and leave the ACA and Medicaid expansion intact, and take action to preserve the ACA.

       Contact information for all West Virginia delegation members HERE.

West Virginians Together for Medicaid