Things have been heating up with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) recently.
Currently, there are two parallel updates on either side of the aisle to take note of. On Monday March 25, The Department of Justice announced that it would side with a district court ruling that found the ACA unconstitutional. Immediately after, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives rolled out a plan to help strengthen the ACA.
Here’s what you need to know about these two developing decisions.
The Motion by the Department of Justice
The DOJ’s position is that the entire ACA should be deemed unconstitutional, in accordance with a ruling handed down by a Texas district court judge in December. In this court case, the ACA is being defended not by the Trump Administration, but by a group of Blue State governors and attorneys general.
While this move has certainly angered many Democrats, it does not have any other immediate impacts. The DOJ lawyers who expressed this position will still need to wait on the outcome of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ hearing of this case. Regardless of the outcome there, the case will likely head to the Supreme Court.
The significance of the filing is that it represents a shift in position for the Trump administration, indicating they are being more aggressive in their pursuit of a court termination of the complete requirements of the ACA. Seeking to invalidate the entire ACA is a broader move, and a clear escalation in the battle over healthcare in the US.
The filing itself does not indicate a guaranteed victory for the Trump administration. Nor does anything change until the court cases conclude.
The Democrats’ proposed legislation to expand some aspects of the Affordable Care Act sticks to policies that should win immediate support from the entire Democratic caucus. Included in the proposal are the expansion of tax credits, creating a national reinsurance program, and rolling back the Trump administration’s actions to expand skimpier health insurance plans.
The bill is not likely to go anywhere. While it may pass the House, Republicans still control the Senate and Trump the veto pen. Rather, the bill just reinforces that the two parties view healthcare as a key issue for the next election.
Stay the course
As we head toward the 2020 election, this is certainly not the last headline to catch benefits professionals’ attention. That said, I encourage you to keep your attention on the laws and regulations as they apply TODAY. Stay focused on reporting and other deadlines while treating the ACA as the law of the land.
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