The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hand down a ruling on whether the ACA is unconstitutional. Arguments centered on the Republican-led Congress’ passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, which eliminated – or zeroed out - the ACA’s penalty for people who did not have health insurance. ACA opponents argue that eliminating the individual mandate penalty amounted to a government-ordered command to buy health insurance. If the penalty is unconstitutional, then the entire law must fall.
“The district court’s original decision to invalidate the entire ACA was misguided and wrong,” the AHIP statement says. The organization believes the ACA “should continue in operation despite its zeroing out of the mandate.”
“We are confident that the Supreme Court will ultimately recognize that zeroing out the mandate was never intended to wreak havoc across the entire American health care system.
“As we continue to engage in the legal process, health insurance providers remain committed to serving all of their members, and to strengthening affordability, access and choices for every American.”
The AHIP brief went on to say invalidation of the ACA “would wreak havoc on the health care system. Congress could not have intended that result in 2010, when it enacted one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching pieces of health care legislation in over 50 years. And Congress did not intend that result in 2017, when it zeroed out the tax payment for forgoing health coverage without repealing any other ACA provision.”
The ACA “is not a tapestry that unravels by pulling upon a single thread (i.e., the individual mandate),” the brief said.
“Rather, the ACA’s multitude of wide-ranging reforms, which rest on a variety of statutory foundations scattered across the U.S. Code, affect every health insurance market (not just the individual market) and every American with coverage (not just those who purchased coverage on the exchanges).”
AHIP also noted eliminating the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions “would upend the individual markets and throw individuals and health insurance providers back to an obsolete system that cannot be revived without serious disruption to American lives and the nation’s economy.”