Last night a federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. In this case, the legal challenge to the law was based on the fact that Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate in last year’s tax bill and the Supreme Court had previously ruled that the individual mandate of the ACA was constitutional because it was an exercise of Congress’s taxing authority. With the elimination of the penalty, Republican attorneys general had challenged the law now saying that without the tax the individual mandate must fall and with it, the rest of the ACA.
Two things should be noted about this decision: first, it will almost certainly be appealed and will probably end up at the Supreme Court for a decision. Second, it will have no legal affect while these appeals go through so the ACA marketplace is still open for business. As today is the last day to enroll in many states (see yesterday’s blog for some exceptions), do not let yesterday’s court ruling deter you from enrolling in health insurance!