CSAC Bulletin Article

Fifth Circuit Court Rules Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

December 19, 2019

This week the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provision, known as the individual mandate, which requires individuals to have the basic level of health coverage. In a 2-1 decision the federal judges ruled the individual mandate requirement was unconstitutional.

​The constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate was at the core of this case, and whether or not eliminating the mandate would invalidate the entire ACA. In April, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) joined local government entities and several states from across the country, to file an amicus brief. The brief focused on 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.

In this week’s decision the Fifth Circuit Appellate Court did not decide if the ACA could stand without the individual mandate, but ruled to have the Texas lower court do additional analysis. In Texas v. United States the lower court invalidated the ACA, setting the appellate case in motion.  

While litigation and uncertainty on the future of the ACA continues, Californians will continue receiving the services and high-quality care they are entitled to. Working closely with our state and federal partners, CSAC will continue to monitor any new developments and keep you apprised of advocacy efforts.

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