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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Submits Amicus Brief to Supreme Court Supporting ACA


    Ivy Baer, Senior Director and Regulatory Counsel

    The AAMC, along with other hospital associations, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of Texas v. U.S., the lawsuit filed by a group of states and several individuals that challenges the constitutionality of the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) because Congress zeroed out the individual mandate penalty.   

    In 2017, Congress amended the ACA and removed the individual mandate, but did not change the remainder of the law. The case was most recently argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which issued a Dec. 2019 ruling affirming that the individual mandate became unconstitutional once Congress reduced the ACA penalty for failure to obtain insurance to zero dollars [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 19, 2019]. The plaintiffs contend that the entire law must fall without the mandate. 

    The brief argues that the individual mandate is severable from the remainder of the ACA as demonstrated by the fact that the remainder of the act was left to stand when Congress removed the individual mandate penalty. The brief also explains the disastrous and wide-ranging consequences throughout the entire health care system that would occur should the Supreme Court decide that the entire ACA is unconstitutional, including the millions of people who would be without health insurance. This, in turn, “would strain hospitals’ ability to serve vulnerable populations.”

    The case is expected to be argued in the fall 2020 term. It is anticipated that a decision will be issued towards the end of the calendar year.