Stories by David Nather

Affordable Care Act may be headed back to Supreme Court

A sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature achievement, may be headed back to the Supreme Court after a conservative federal judge in Texas struck down the individual mandate as unconstitutional last evening.

Be smart: This really could end with the Affordable Care Act being wiped out. There’s no guarantee that a more conservative Supreme Court won’t just let the law die.

Federal judge says ACA must be thrown out

Illustration: Axios Visuals

A federal judge declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional Friday, ruling that the entire law must be struck down because Congress invalidated the tax penalty for not buying health insurance — the basis for the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling that declared the law constitutional.

Why it matters: The long-awaited ruling by the Texas judge isn't the last word on the issue. A spokeswoman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says the state is already planning an appeal, per Bloomberg. But it leaves the entire future of Barack Obama's health care law uncertain — and is sure to put President Trump and congressional Republicans on the defensive, as it would mean the end of protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Inmates need better addiction treatment

Photo: Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The law firm Akin Gump is arguing that inmates are being wrongly denied treatment for opioid addiction, and that there’s a strong case for lawsuits to force the criminal justice system to treat them (first spotted by Joshua Sharfstein), per a memo written by Akin Gump for Bloomberg American Health Initiative.

Why it matters: If people don’t get treatment in jail or prison, they’re at extreme risk of overdosing when they get out, according to the memo. That’s because inmates aren’t using opioids while incarcerated, so their tolerance goes way down.

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