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Judge says Affordable Care Act will remain in effect during appeal

The federal judge who declared the Affordable Care Act's individual coverage mandate unconstitutional ...

Posted: Dec 31, 2018 11:48 AM
Updated: Dec 31, 2018 11:48 AM

The federal judge who declared the Affordable Care Act's individual coverage mandate unconstitutional earlier this month issued an order on Sunday saying despite his previous ruling the law can remain in effect pending appeal.

Texas federal District Judge Reed O'Connor said in his ruling that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

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Sunday's order also paves the way for a coalition of Democratic states defending the law to appeal O'Connor's original ruling.

O'Connor had ruled that the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional because Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty by reducing it to $0. This rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional and the rest of the act therefore cannot stand. However, he did not issue an injunction to stop federal and state governments from enforcing the law.

Still, the decision threw the future of health coverage for millions of Americans on the Obamacare exchanges and in Medicaid expansion into doubt. It also threatened to wipe away popular protections for those with pre-existing conditions, as well as measures that save money for senior citizens on Medicare, let children stay on their parents' policies until age 26 and allow many Americans to access free preventive tests and birth control.

Although the Trump administration is not defending the Affordable Care Act, officials immediately said the law remains in place while the appeal process plays out. But California and other states defending the law had asked O'Connor to issue a new order making that clear.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the coalition of Democratic states, asked the court to take the legal steps necessary to allow the states to appeal the decision "expeditiously." A spokesperson for Becerra's office said with this most recent order they are now in a position to officially appeal the ruling.

Becerra reacted to the judge's decision on Sunday and said in a statement to CNN: "We've always said we're going to protect the health care of Americans and make clear that the ACA is the law of the land. Today the judge granted what we asked for when we filed our expedited motion but at the end of the day, we're working to keep health care affordable and accessible to millions of Americans, so we march forward."

Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who spearheaded the group of Republican states that sought to bring down the law, said Sunday that he is "eager to defend the district court's ruling declaring Obamacare unconstitutional."

"We have no quarrel with the district court's stay, which provides the states with an opportunity to develop plans to address the health care needs of their residents for the day this ruling is ultimately upheld," Paxton said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33591

Reported Deaths: 1204
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds264246
DeSoto176718
Madison135536
Jones115949
Neshoba101673
Harrison100312
Rankin99915
Lauderdale93781
Forrest92743
Scott78515
Jackson70417
Copiah62715
Washington62610
Leake59820
Lee57521
Holmes57041
Oktibbeha55728
Wayne55116
Warren54020
Yazoo5336
Grenada5227
Lowndes51513
Leflore50756
Lamar5007
Lincoln49234
Pike46617
Sunflower4368
Monroe43135
Lafayette4194
Covington3965
Panola3926
Bolivar37018
Attala36523
Simpson3603
Newton35210
Adams33218
Tate31912
Pontotoc3166
Marion30812
Chickasaw29119
Claiborne28910
Winston28210
Noxubee2738
Pearl River26932
Jasper2666
Marshall2643
Clay25111
Smith23412
Union23311
Coahoma2136
Clarke21125
Walthall2087
Lawrence1892
Yalobusha1838
Kemper17914
Carroll17111
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1564
Montgomery1432
Calhoun1425
Tippah14211
Itawamba1408
Hancock13413
Webster12811
Tunica1153
Jefferson1143
Jefferson Davis1144
Prentiss1113
Greene1089
Amite1043
George943
Wilkinson949
Tishomingo911
Quitman891
Alcorn762
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone722
Franklin472
Benton420
Sharkey400
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
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