Obamacare Insurance Mandate Is Struck Down by Federal Appeals Court

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down a central provision of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the requirement that people have health insurance was unconstitutional. But the appeals panel sent the case back to a federal district court in Texas to determine whether other provisions of the law could continue to exist without the mandate.

The 2-1 decision, by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, left the fate of the nearly decade-old health law in limbo even as medical costs and insurance coverage have become central issues in the presidential race.

The ruling was issued almost exactly a year after Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth struck down the entire law.

Two of the three judges, Jennifer Walker Elrod, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, and Kurt Engelhardt, appointed by President Trump in 2018, wrote the ruling. The third, Carolyn Dineen King, appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, dissented.

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