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In a 2-1 ruling by the New Orleans 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Affordable Care Act, — also widely referred to as ‘Obamacare’ due to its original introduction during the Obama Administration — an individual mandate in the act has been deemed invalid.

In the ruling, the New Orleans 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s assertion that the Affordable Care Act’s ‘individual mandate’ or the act’s insurance requirement became unconstitutional in 2017 when Congress had reduced the tax amount to zero dollars for people who were not insured.

In an article by MarketWatch, Circuit Judge Jennifer Elrod wrote, “It may still be that none of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is severable from the individual mandate, even after this inquiry is concluded. It may be that all of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate. It may also be that some of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate, and some is not.”

The appeals court did not issue an exact statement as to how much of the act would be affected, but media outlets are already predicting the matter will make its way to the Supreme Court.

The changes to the Affordable Care Act will potentially adversely affect tens of millions of Americans.

As described by an article by Kaiser Health News titled Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Portion Of Obamacare, considerable implications exist:

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Hanging in the balance is not only health coverage for the roughly 20 million Americans directly served by the ACA, but also hundreds of millions more whose health care and coverage have been affected by the thousands of changes to the health care system enacted in the law. Those include provisions as wide-ranging as changes in Medicare drug copayments, requirements for calorie counts on menus, a pathway for approval of generic copies of expensive biologic drugs and, perhaps most important politically, protections for people with preexisting conditions.

The Trump administration has been inconsistent in its support and/or condemnation of the Affordable Care Act, In 2018, the administration said the entire law did not have to be declared void — yet the tax could still be eliminated. However, in July 2018, attorneys argued that the laws of the Affordable Care Act perhaps should be voided in the states the GOP would be suing.

Simply stated, the future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain, and the Supreme Court will be tasked to iron out all the confusion.

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

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