4 quotes from the ACA hearing

A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard oral arguments July 9 in a case over a judge's decision to strike down the ACA.

The panel is considering a decision by Judge Reed O'Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In December, he ruled in a lawsuit brought by Republican-led states that the entire healthcare law is invalid because Congress eliminated the ACA's individual insurance mandate penalty under the 2017 tax law signed by President Donald Trump. 

Judge O'Connor's ruling was appealed, and the ACA has remained intact while the case is pending.

Four quotes from the hearing, as reported by The Wall Street Journal and Politico

1. Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins, one of the plaintiffs, arguing the insurance mandate couldn't be constitutionally upheld without the associated penalty: "The Affordable Care Act presents a standalone command to buy an insurance product that the federal government deems suitable, and it does so without raising a single dime of revenue."

2. California Deputy Solicitor General Samuel Siegel, the lawyer representing Democratic-led states defending the ACA, arguing that lawmakers never intended to dismantle the entire health law: "All the court has to do is look at the text."

3. Judge Kurt Engelhardt, who was appointed by President Trump, argued lawmakers could settle the primary issue in the lawsuit by completely eliminating the individual insurance mandate and noted senators haven't provided formal input on the case in court: "They’re sort of the 800-pound gorilla who’s not in the room."

4. August Flentje, attorney for the U.S. Justice Department, on provisions that can remain if the law is undone: "A lot of this stuff will need to be sorted out. It's complicated." 


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