Affordable Care Act repeal

Judges wary of Affordable Care Act mandate

Protesters rally against the Affordable Care Act outside the Supreme Court in 2012
Anti-Affordable Care Act protesters in 2012. Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

A federal appeals court seemed likely on Tuesday to strike down what remains of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, but sent more mixed signals about its willingness to throw out the rest of the health care law along with it.

Why it matters: If a ruling striking down ACA comes to pass — like the one a lower court handed down last year — it would throw some 20 million people off their coverage, create ripple effects through almost every facet of the health care system and ignite an enormous political firestorm.

A new question in the Texas ACA case

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals added a new question on Wednesday to the high-stakes lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act's survival: Whether Democratic attorneys general or the House of Representatives have the legal standing to defend the ACA in court.

What it means: The court is asking whether it ought to kick out the entire pro-ACA side of the case. Technically Texas (with a group of other red states) is suing the Trump administration, but the Trump administration says it agrees with Texas' position. Blue states and House Democrats stepped in so that somebody would be arguing the pro-ACA position.