On January 21, 2020, the United States Supreme Court denied motions to expedite consideration of Texas v. Azar, the lawsuit which challenged the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate.
The decision to deny expediting the case follows a United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruling back in December of 2019. The appeals court ruled that the ACA’s individual mandate was unconstitutional due to the elimination of the individual mandate penalty.
The appeals court remanded the case to the lower court to determine whether the rest of the ACA can remain in place without the individual mandate. However, the U.S. House of Representatives and several states asked the Supreme Court to take up the case before the lower court issued a ruling.
The motions argued that the question of the individual mandate’s validity is too important to wait for the lower court’s ruling. The Supreme Court disagreed, however, finding that there is no emergency that would justify expediting the case and denied the motions.
Because the Supreme Court declined to expedite the case, the lower court is now tasked with determining whether the rest of the ACA may be severed from the individual mandate provision — with the exception of the three ACA taxes that were repealed in late December.
The lower court’s ruling is expected to ultimately be appealed to the Supreme Court. As a result, a final decision is not expected to be made until that time.
For more information on the case, click here.
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