Update on the Affordable Care Act

Congress has held a divided position on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the law’s passage in 2010, with the House of Representatives voting for its repeal multiple times between 2011 and 2017. The law has also been challenged in the courts. The most recent court decision by a district court in Texas in December 2018 declared the law unconstitutional.

This decision is on appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, with a group of Republican state attorneys general supporting the lower court’s decision to find the law unconstitutional and a group of Democratic state attorneys general challenging the decision. This week, the United States Department of Justice announced its determination that the lower court came to the correct decision and that DOJ would support the decision.

It is unlikely that a conclusion will be reached any time soon. It is possible that the matter may eventually be heard by the Supreme Court, which has twice previously rejected challenges to the ACA. In the meantime, applicable large employers should continue offering minimum essential coverage to full-time employees in compliance with the employer mandate of the ACA.