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Texas v. United States

Full name: Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Paul LePAGE, Governor of Maine, Governor Phil Bryant of the State of Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Neill Hurley, and John Nantz,
United States Of America, United States Department Of Health And Human Services, Alex Azar, in his Official Capacity as Secretary Of Health And Human Services, United States Internal Revenue Service, and David J. Kautter, in his Official Capacity as Acting Commissioner Of Internal Revenue,
California, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota by and through its Department of Commerce, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington,

Note: Court justices do not represent any political party. The color of each judge's name represents the political party of the president who appointed the judge.

Click here for a list of all Supreme Court justices

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What is this case about?

This case could determine the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), based on whether certain parts of the law are severable from others.

How did this case come about?

As part of the tax law passed in December 2017, Congress eliminated the mandate - the requirement of ObamaCare for most people to have health care insurance.

Twenty states with Republican legislatures then sued the federal government - claiming the entire law is unconstitutional because Congress eliminated the requirement to purchase insurance in 2019.

Although the government is the defendant in the suit, the Trump administration has said that it would not defend ObamaCare.

The administration, however, is not arguing to repeal the entire law. They are arguing that two provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions - guaranteed issue and community rating - should be struck down.

Because the administration is not defending the law, a group consisting of 17 state attorneys general (referred to as intervenors in the case) have been allowed to defend ObamaCare in the case.

Is the mandate "severable" from other ObamaCare provisions?

The Republican plaintiffs argued the mandate harms their states because it increases enrollment in state employment health plans, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The Democratic intervenors argued that there could be no harm from a $0 dollar penalty.

One prevalent theme in the arguments was the intent of Congress - both in the original 2010 law and in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The Republican plaintiffs argued that Congress never intended to separate the mandate from the law - that ObamaCare can't work without it.

We have previously explained that ObamaCare still is effective without the mandate. It just costs everyone more.

The Democratic intervenors argued that it was the intent of Congress to keep the remainder of the law intact - because that's what it did.

Millions could lose health care insurance

Since 2015, ObamaCare has provided many protections to the health care of Americans.

Depending on the outcome of this case, any or all of these protections could disappear.

Millions who are covered through Medicaid Expansion could simply lose their coverage. And those who rely on the premium subsidies provided by ObamaCare could find themselves unable to afford coverage.

Key participants

The 20 states filing the suit (plaintiffs) are...

o Alabama
o Arizona
o Arkansas
o Florida
o Georgia
o Indiana
o Kansas
o Louisiana
o Maine
o Mississippi
o Missouri
o Nebraska
o North Dakota
o South Carolina
o South Dakota
o Tennessee
o Texas (lead plaintiff)
o Utah
o West Virginia
o Wisconsin

Kansas, Maine, and Wisconsin will have Democratic governors in 2019. It is not known whether that will change their standing in the case.

The intervening states defending the law are...

o California (lead intervenor)
o Connecticut
o Delaware
o Hawaii
o Illinois
o Kentucky
o Massachusetts
o Minnesota
o New Jersey
o New York
o North Carolina
o Oregon
o Rhode Island
o Vermont
o Virginia
o Washington
o District of Columbia

The federal judge hearing the case is Reed O'Connor.

Fed judge rules ObamaCare unconstitutional

On Dec. 18, 2018 O'Connor sided with the Republican states, ruling that ObamaCare without the mandate violates the Constitution.

The case now will be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Whichever side loses there likely will appeal to the Supreme Court.

There likely will be no effective change to the law until the appeals process is finalized.

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