WASHINGTON — In a move that could put the Obama-era health law squarely in the middle of the 2020 election, Democratic-led states Friday asked the Supreme Court for a fast-track review of a recent appeals court decision declaring a key part of the law unconstitutional and casting a cloud over the rest.
A coalition of 20 states filed a petition seeking expedited review, according to the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. They hope to get a Supreme Court hearing and decision by this summer, before the November elections. For the court to agree to such a timetable would be unusual, but not unprecedented.
Defenders of the Affordable Care Act are arguing that the issues raised by the case are too important to let the litigation drag on for months or years in lower courts, and that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans erred when it struck down the health law’s now toothless requirement that Americans have health insurance.
The 5th Circuit’s 2-1 decision left the health law in effect for now. Open
While declaring the health law’s individual mandate to be unconstitutional, the appeals court made no decision on such popular provisions as protections for people with preexisting conditions, Medicaid expansion, and coverage for young adults up to age 26 on their parents’ policies.
The appeals court sent the case back to a lower court judge who has already decided once to throw out the entire health care law. The appellate court asked Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor to determine which parts of the law could be separated from the insurance requirement, and thus remain in place.
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press