Affordable Care Act under attack

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In New Orleans, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was set to hear an argument concerning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, on July 9, USA Today reports. 

While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the law is constitutional, federal District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in December that when Congress repealed the tax on people who do not buy insurance in 2017, it essentially axed the individual mandate, rendering the law unconstitutional. 

The Trump administration and 18 states, most prominently Texas, side with O’Connor, while the House of Representatives and 16 states, led by California (and including Colorado), are defending the ACA.

GOP-appointed judges make up the majority of the panel and, should the case advance to the full appeals court, GOP judges also dominate there.

The case could go all the way to the Supreme Court. 

Should the ACA be struck down, 20 million people would lose insurance, and the country would lose protections for pre-existing conditions, subsidies, Medicaid expansion and more. 

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