Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in part with a lower federal court’s ruling that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. However, the Fifth Circuit differed from the lower court and did not strike down the law in its entirety. Instead, the Court sent the case back to the lower court for further analysis.
In response to today’s ruling, Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director for Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:
“The Fifth Circuit’s decision to rule the individual mandate unconstitutional is another blow to the Affordable Care Act — the single most important piece of legislation impacting the health of young adults in a generation. More than 8 million young adults have gained coverage thanks to the ACA, and millions more are taking advantage of the consumer protections that have strengthened access and affordability throughout the health system.
The ACA protects the more than 30 million young Americans with pre-existing conditions, provides real access and affordability for millions through expanded Medicaid and subsidized marketplace coverage, alleviates medical debt for young people by eliminating annual and lifetime limits, and increases access to services young people need the most, like mental health and maternity care. Our heart breaks for the millions of people who rely on the ACA for life-saving care and now must endure more uncertainty.
We know the Trump Administration and their allies in Congress have no plan if the ACA is struck down. In fact, they’ve never had a plan — and there is no indication that will change. While this case is expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court, the continued threat of fully striking down the law will inflict real harm on millions of young people who need access to health coverage.”
Though the individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional, the 5th Circuit has returned the case to the lower court to determine if the rest of the law can stand without the mandate. The Court also clarified that the intervenor-defendants have standing in the case, allowing state Attorneys General to continue defending the law in court.