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A U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is unconstitutional, but ordered a lower court to take a fresh look at how much of the rest of the law should fall along with it.

What's next: This decision will likely keep the ACA's protections for pre-existing conditions in legal limbo well past the 2020 election.

The intrigue: Republican attorneys general have argued that congressional Republicans’ 2017 tax law, which nullified the ACA's individual mandate, made that policy unconstitutional.

  • A panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that it agrees.
  • Republicans, and the Trump administration, have said the courts should strike down the entire law along with the mandate.
  • The 5th Circuit wrestled during oral arguments over how much of the law to strike down, ultimately deciding to kick that question back to the lower court for a new hearing. That lower court previously said the entire law would have to go.

Yes, but: The individual mandate is now essentially toothless, and it turned out not to be particularly effective when it was in effect.

  • So if the court is inclined to strike down the mandate alone, letting the rest of the law stand, that would be a much safer proposition than it appeared to be in 2012.

Go deeper: Government funding bill deal will repeal key ACA taxes

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
13 mins ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”