The Affordable Care Act is once again under threat, along with health insurance coverage for at least 20 million Americans, as a federal appeals court weighs on its constitutionality. Last December a federal judge in Texas had ruled that the ACA was unconstitutional after Congress removed the individual mandate and zeroed out the penalty in 2017. That was the first major legal challenge to the ACA after the Supreme Court had upheld the mandate in its landmark 2012 ruling that saved the law.
Robert Field, a lecturer in Wharton’s health care management department and professor of law and professor of health management and policy at Drexel University, noted that as the appeals court in New Orleans seemed to support the decision of the lower court in Texas, it opens a whole set of questions: “Will they end the stay and allow the [Texas] decision to go into effect which would implode the Affordable Care Act, and with it much of our health care system?”
“I will be heartsick if it’s declared unconstitutional,” said Mark V. Pauly, Wharton professor of health care management. “My view is that you should be required to have health insurance just like you’re required to wear clothes in cold weather.”
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