MHP Legislative Update:
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Texas v. Azar - Federal
What's the issue: This past year, the state of Texas, along with 17 Republican state attorneys general and two Republican governors (known as the plaintiffs), sued Alex Azar (Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services) arguing that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) was unconstitutional and should be repealed.
This argument is based off of a Supreme Court decision that ruled that the individual mandate (the rule that says you have to have health insurance or pay an annual penalty) was the "glue" to keeping the ACA together. When Congress repealed the individual mandate within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December, it opened the door for claims that the whole law must now be repealed.
What's the update: This past Friday evening, Judge Reed O'Connor (a Federal judge in Texas) ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and declared the ACA to be unconstitutional. The State of California has already begun the process of appealing the ruling, and it is expected that other states will join in that appeal.
What can you do: Contact your state's attorney general and ask them to join California in appealing the ruling. It is important we show our legislators how critical the ACA is to the mental and behavioral health community!
Looking for more information?: This NPR article breaks down the case and what it means for the country in a simple and easy to understand way!
IMPORTANT: This ruling does not change anything for enrollment in 2019. People who signed up through the marketplace this past month will still be able to receive their insurance as planned for the time being.