The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to act quickly to free states that like the Affordable Care Act, U.S. health insurers, and other ACA watchers from suspense about whether the ACA will live or die.
The court today postponed review of the case formerly known as Texas v. the United States, or Texas v. Azar, until at least next fall.
- Links to Texas v. Azar pleadings are available here.
- A link to the Jan. 21 order list document is available here.
- An article how about a major health insurance company group sees the case is available here.
The court delivered that decision in a 16-word message included in an order list document posted today. The message did not provide an explanation for the ruling.
The Case Formerly Known as Texas v. the United States
Officials in Texas and other states that oppose the Affordable Care Act filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Texas that challenged the constitutionality of the ACA individual coverage mandate.
The plaintiffs argued, in a case which originally was known as Texas v. the United States, or Texas v. Azar, that, because the individual mandate provision is unconstitutional, and because the ACA includes no provision for keeping the rest of the law in place if one part is tossed out, all of the ACA must die.
The U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in December 2018.
A three-judge panel at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower-court ruling in December 2019. The 5th Circuit panel sent the judge back down to the district court. The panel asked the lower-court judge to look at whether killing the individual mandate provision in the ACA should really kill of the ACA.
Officials in California, New York state and other states that support the ACA asked the Supreme Court to take up the case this spring, without letting the case go back to the district court level, to provide the final ruling on the outcome of the case as quickly as possible.
ACA supporters and America’s Health Insurance Plans have argued that public health plan managers and commercial health insurers need to know the fate of the ACA as quickly as possible.
Lawyers for the administration of President Donald Trump and states like Texas have argued that there is no need for the Supreme Court to consider the case on an emergency basis, because the courts have already stayed the effects of the district court ruling.