CSAC Bulletin Article

Fifth Circuit Court Hears Arguments in Texas v. United States

July 11, 2019

This week, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a case that could determine the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).The Fifth Circuit Court could make its decision on Texas v. United States by the end of the year, but regardless of the outcome, the case is widely expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court in 2020.

The three federal judges will decide on key issues that could have an enormous impact on the access to health and behavioral health services for Californians under the ACA. The constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate is at the core of this case, and whether or not eliminating the mandate would invalidate the entire ACA.

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) joined 35 cities and counties, as well as 20 states from across the country, to file an amicus brief in the federal Court of Appeals in April 2019, explaining how the ACA is critical to reducing local government indigent health costs and enables local government to provide better care. The brief also describes how unwinding the ACA would lead to catastrophic health care costs, chaos, and disruption.

During the July 9 oral arguments the judges questioned and heard arguments related to the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction on this matter, if the parties (states and local governments) have standing to bring this lawsuit, and if the mandate can be separated from the rest of the ACA. CSAC will continue to monitor any new developments.

The oral arguments can be found on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s website here.

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