AHIP joins blue states in asking Supreme Court to review ACA case

View of the Supreme Court building
America's Health Insurance Plans is calling for the Supreme Court to review the ongoing Affordable Care Act case. (sframephoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Insurers are joining a group of blue states in urging the Supreme Court to take up the ongoing case over the legality of the ACA.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) filed an amicus brief (PDF) in support of 20 blue states and the District of Columbia, which have requested SCOTUS weigh in on the case and circumvent a likely lengthy review of the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the District Court in Texas.

The states, led by California, argue that continuing to delay a final decision only extends uncertainty around the law, which could impact enrollment and access. AHIP agrees.

"The district court’s original decision to invalidate the entire ACA was misguided and wrong," CEO Matt Eyles said in a statement. "We urge the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and remove the overhanging legal uncertainty that undermines the stability of coverage for nearly 300 million Americans, and that inhibits greater and faster progress to improve coverage and care for everyone."

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The case has been ongoing for the better part of two years. A group of red states sued to block the ACA following Congress' 2017 rollback of the individual mandate penalty, arguing that action invalidated the law entirely.

In December 2018, Texas Judge Reed O'Connor ruled in their favor, declaring the ACA unconstitutional. That decision was quickly appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which issued an opinion in December deeming the individual mandate unconstitutional and asking O'Connor to review the rest of the law with "a fine-toothed comb" to determine what other provisions, if any, could stand if the mandate is struck down.

Experts on the case say this process could significantly extend the legal battle and said O'Connor is poised to issue a very similar opinion to his 2018 decision.

The Trump administration, meanwhile—which ultimately elected to back the lawsuit after shifting its opinion several times—said last week that it's too soon for the Supreme Court to hear the case. As the ACA remains in place during the legal proceedings, moving forward with a SCOTUS review without hearing out the District Court would be "premature," the Department of Justice said.

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