Obamacare lawsuit heads to appeals court

The biggest challenge to the Affordable Care Act to date heads to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans Tuesday, July 9, for scheduled oral arguments in the case. Democrats that have taken up defense of the healthcare law, known as Obamacare, after a federal judge ruled the entire ACA unconstitutional in late 2018.

The ruling came out of a lawsuit filed by more than 20 Republican state attorneys general and states. The Trump administration’s Department of Justice did not defend the law in the case, siding with Republicans and even asking the court to throw out the ACA.

As the case heads into the appeals court, more than 100 million Americans could be at risk of losing protections warranted under the ACA, which prohibited health insurance providers from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions.

The appeals court is made up of a three-judge panel who will hear oral arguments from Republicans and the Trump administration arguing in favor of overturning the healthcare law in its entirety, which would upend the American healthcare system, Reuters reported Tuesday. During the appeals process, the healthcare law has remained in place.

Last year, Republicans in the case successfully argued the ACA was unconstitutional because it no longer had a tax penalty for the individual mandate clause. Republicans in Congress effectively zeroed out the financial penalty for not having insurance in the 2018 budget act.

The ACA has survived many attempts by Republicans to tear it down. Since Trump took office, Congressional Republicans have failed to pass a comprehensive healthcare plan or overturn the existing system.