Kaine continues to push for health care for all

Becerra speaks at the podium during a news conference in Sacramento Calif

Rich Pedroncelli AP FILE Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks at the podium during a news conference in Sacramento Calif

A federal appeals court panel appeared sympathetic on Tuesday to Republican efforts to overturn Obamacare, expressing skepticism to Democratic calls to overturn the ruling of a Texas judge who found the landmark US healthcare reform law unconstitutional.

In fact administration officials, including White House economists, this year repeatedly have hailed the strength of insurance marketplaces created by the 2010 law.

So, if the penalty is unconstitutional, the whole apparatus of the law should be struck down, too. They claimed the Supreme Court exclusively upheld the ACA as a result of it was below Congress's taxing power, and that subsequently the complete regulation was invalidated. One attorney general who spearheaded it, Josh Hawley of Missouri, runs ads in his successful Senate bid touting his commitment to pre-existing conditions protections, the very ones was attempting to destroy. "By calling for the invalidation of the entire ACA, the Justice Department is undermining the rule of law and threatening to upend the American health care system", Weiser said in a statement Tuesday. On the other side, 16 states led by California and the Democratic-controlled U.S. House will defend the sweeping reform package, arguing it's provided coverage for 20 million Americans who otherwise would not have it. People are still required by law to purchase state subsidized health insurance, but there is no penalty for ignoring the law.

"We had an alternative in the 115th Congress", Higgins said. "I know Texas is unhappy with what Chief Justice Roberts did".

With no tax penalty now in effect, the Texas lawsuit argues, the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must fall without it. Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor agreed in a December ruling. "If Trump gets what he's hoping for in New Orleans, there's a strong argument to be made that the president will be like the proverbial dog that catches up with the truck", The Washington Post's James Hohmann writes.

It was unclear when the panel would rule. When it does, the case of Texas v. But if the 5th Circuit rules in favor of the ACA, it's less likely the case would go before the high court, which has previously ruled in favor of the law in 2012 and 2015.

This new case could be the most consequential test of Obamacare yet.

"My thoughts are primarily with the hundreds of thousands of Nevadans who have health insurance thanks to the ACA and have access to things like no co-pay birth control", Roberson said.

Almost 20 million Americans will lose health care coverage, according to the Urban Institute.

When the administration first weighed in on the case, in June 2018, it said it believed that without the tax penalty only the ACA provisions most closely connected to that penalty - including requiring insurers to sell policies to people with preexisting conditions - should be struck down. However, Hawkins took pains to highlight inconsistencies that have developed in the Trump administration's position, which left Flentje, the Justice Department lawyer, occasionally struggling to explain himself.

"If we win the House back, keep the Senate and keep the presidency, we're going to have a plan that blows away Obamacare", Trump told the crowd. It's not certain which direction they'll take, but the line of tough questioning may be a clue.

Three 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals judges - one nominated by President Donald Trump, one by George W. Bush and one by Jimmy Carter - heard the arguments.

Judge Carolyn Dineen King did not ask any questions.

The law's supporters say it remains constitutional, despite the tax change.

"The individual mandate is the centerpiece of Obamacare". Judge Kurt Engelhardt seemed to agree.

"Why does Congress want the ... judiciary to become the taxidermist for every legislative big-game accomplishment that Congress achieves?"

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