We previously reported that District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas declared on December 14, 2018 (1) that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate is unconstitutional and (2) that the remaining provisions of the ACA are “inseverable” and therefore invalid.
Following the Order, commenters largely believed that the Order had no immediate effect. Supporting this view, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that the Order does not have any impact on 2019 enrollment or coverage and that the Order does not have any immediate effect on its enforcement of any portion of the ACA.
The States that are defending the lawsuit moved for a stay of the Order on the basis that immediately implementing the Order “would cause chaos for patients, providers, insurance carriers, and the federal and state governments.” The Federal Defendants did not object to the stay request because, in its view, exhaustion of appellate review would be in the public interest. By Order dated December 30, 2018, the Court stayed, during the pendency of the appeal, its December 14 Order. The court recognized that without the stay, “many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of the appeal.”