On December 14, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor released his ruling on the first of five counts in Texas v. United States. The case challenged the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate in light of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which zeroed out the individual mandate penalty. Judge O’Connor’s ruling was that the individual mandate, with no accompanying tax penalty, is unconstitutional. The decision also determined that the individual mandate is such an essential part of the ACA that the ACA cannot function without the individual mandate in place. As a result, his ruling finds the entire ACA invalid.
However, this ruling is not final and is expected to be engaged in appeals for the next several months, which will likely culminate in a hearing before the Supreme Court. This means that the ACA continues to be the law of the land and compliance with the ACA is still being enforced. Coverage for the 2019 plan year remains unaffected by the ruling.
Source: National Association of Health Underwriters