DOJ Supports the ACA Being Ruled Unconstitutional: Now What?

 March 27 2019     Diane Cross

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its support of the Texas v. Unites States ruling in a brief filed earlier this week, agreeing that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional.  For background, a federal judge in Texas held in late 2018 that since the individual mandate penalty is eliminated, the entire ACA is unconstitutional (see ACA Ruled Unconstitutional: What’s the Impact? for further details).  This is a change of the DOJ’s previous position, where before the administration argued that only certain parts of the ACA should be invalid, such as protections for pre-existing conditions. 

This DOJ announcement has employers curious – now what? The short answer is more of the same, ACA remains the “law of the land”; the DOJ supporting the position that the ACA is unconstitutional does not change ACA compliance obligations.  This just means that the DOJ agrees that the entire ACA should be struck down and it will not challenge the ruling during the appeals process.  While appeals are pending, all existing ACA provisions are applicable and enforced.  In the immediate this means that employers are still subject to the employer mandate, as applicable, and reporting obligations are still in effect.  While it remains business as usual, HORAN will continue to monitor and keep you updated on the status of the case, which is anticipated to move on to be heard by the Supreme Court. Please contact your HORAN representative with questions.