After Obamacare Ruling, States Ask Judge to Protect Coverage During Appeal Process

December 18, 2018 AT 11:00 AM

By Robert Pear

California and 15 other states asked a federal judge on Monday to protect current health care coverage for millions of Americans while courts sort out the implications of his ruling that the Affordable Care Act was invalid in its entirety.

The states, which support the health care law, said the ruling on Friday, by Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, had caused immense confusion about whether the law was still in effect, and whether consumers were still entitled to its benefits and protections.

The states asked Judge O’Connor to clarify whether he meant his decision to have “any immediate legal effect.”

In his sweeping decision, Judge O’Connor held that a provision at the heart of the Affordable Care Act — a requirement for most Americans to have health insurance known as the individual mandate — was unconstitutional and that other provisions of the law could not survive because they were inextricably linked to the coverage mandate. The sprawling law includes not only health insurance exchanges and an expansion of Medicaid, but also protections for people with pre-existing conditions, requirements for what insurance must cover and much more.

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