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Affordable Care Act

Updated at 8:28 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court panel in New Orleans has dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act, agreeing with a lower-court judge that the portion of the health law requiring most people to have coverage is unconstitutional now that Congress has eliminated the tax penalty that was intended to enforce it.

But it is sending the case back to the lower court to decide how much of the rest of the law can stand in light of that ruling.

Sunday was supposed to be the final deadline to enroll in health coverage for 2020 on HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace for buying individual health insurance. But website glitches — that may have caused enrollment problems — prompted an outcry, and the government restarted enrollment Monday.

Any day now, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could rule that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

At least it seemed that two of the three appeals court judges were leaning that way during oral arguments in the case, State of Texas v. USA, in July.

The U.S. Supreme Court examined Obamacare for the fifth time on Tuesday, only this time the justices cast their skeptical gaze on Republican efforts to hobble the law.

Enacted by a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010, the Affordable Care Act promised to partially reimburse insurers if they lost money by covering people with preexisting conditions. The law said that the government "shall" make these payments. But in 2015, Republicans, by then in control of both houses of Congress, attached riders to appropriations bills barring the use of the money for the promised payments.

More than $12 billion is at stake for the nation's health insurers Tuesday when the Supreme Court hears a case involving the Affordable Care Act.

For the federal government, the potential damages could be far greater, as its reputation as a reliable partner to private businesses is on the line.

Unlike earlier Obamacare cases before the high court — where the entire 2010 law and health coverage for millions of Americans was at risk — the latest case has largely flown under consumers' radar.

The state is starting the process that will eventually require thousands of Ohioans to work 20 hours a week or lose their Medicaid benefits, after getting permission from the federal government earlier this year.

It's the season to roll up your sleeves, gather your documents, and pick a health insurance plan for 2020. For those shopping for their own plans, HealthCare.gov and the other state exchanges are open for enrollment as of November 1.

ccf.georgetown.edu

A new report from Georgetown University shows the number of uninsured Ohio children rose by 28 percent from 2016 to 2018. 

The very day President Trump was sworn in — Jan. 20, 2017 — he signed an executive order instructing administration officials "to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay" implementing parts of the Affordable Care Act, while Congress got ready to repeal and replace President Obama's signature health law.

While many Capitol Hill Republicans would like to avoid another public debate about whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump and his appointees keep bringing it up — promising their own health plan that would be "phenomenal" and make the GOP "the party of health care."

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line Tuesday, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional.

Updated at 6:01 p.m. ET

The federal Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to roll back an Obama-era policy intended to protect transgender people from discrimination in health care.

Ohio’s Republican Attorney General is asking a federal court not to strike down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

In a significant shift, the Trump administration says the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be struck down in the courts. Previously, the administration had pushed to remove the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions but had not argued in court that the whole law should be struck down.

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

aia-akronins.com

A Franklin County judge Friday denied a temporary restraining order in the lawsuit seeking to maintain current healthcare coverage for retired Ohio first responders. 

The Trump administration is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Columbus, three other cities and a Virginia couple for allegedly sabotaging the Affordable Care Act.  

Nearly eight thousand retired first responders have filed a class-action lawsuit against the board of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund over recent changes to their health care.  

If last Friday's district court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional were to be upheld, far more than the law's most high-profile provisions would be at stake.

In fact, canceling the law in full — as Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, ordered in his 55-page decision — could thrust the entire health care system into chaos.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has a history of siding with Republicans on ideologically motivated lawsuits. His ruling last week, in which he sided with the GOP on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, was not a one-off.

In fact, critics say, his history is ultimately why that case was before him in the first place.

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor invalidates what's commonly referred to as Obamacare nationwide and casts into doubt the survival of the law on the eve of the deadline for tens of millions of Americans to sign up for health care coverage in 2019.

Editor's note: This story was updated with enrollment figures made available on Dec. 19.

About 8.5 million people enrolled in health plans for 2019 through the federal HealthCare.gov website by the Dec. 15 deadline.

That's about 367,000 fewer people than signed up during the 6 week open enrollment season last year, a decline of about 4 percent, according to new numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Pension changes could cost retired Ohio first responders their healthcare.  

Enrollment Period For Affordable Care Ends Saturday

Dec 12, 2018

Open enrollment for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act ends this Saturday.

After years of steady decline, the number of U.S. children without health insurance rose by 276,000 in 2017, according to a Georgetown University report released Thursday.

Dan Konik

Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has a double-digit lead in most polls going into Election Day.

Dan Konik

Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Renacci says his U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown is about two people from different backgrounds.

Once again, Medicare is moving front and center in this fall's campaigns.

Throughout the election season, Democrats have been criticizing Republicans over votes and lawsuits that would eliminate insurance protections for pre-existing conditions for consumers.

But now Republicans are working to change the health care conversation with a tried-and-true technique used by both parties over the years: telling seniors their Medicare coverage may be in danger.

USA Today published an opinion column by President Trump Wednesday in which the president falsely accused Democrats of trying to "eviscerate" Medicare, while defending his own record of protecting health care coverage for seniors and others.

The column — published just weeks ahead of the midterm elections — underscores the political power of health care to energize voters. But it makes a number of unsubstantiated claims.

cleveland.com

In the third and final gubernatorial debate of 2018 last night, the two major-party candidates sparred in Cleveland over health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and other issues. 

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