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ACA Exchanges 'Still Open for Business' Despite Dramatic Ruling

Analysis  |  By Steven Porter  
   December 14, 2018

Continuing to enforce the status quo brushes aside some concerns that the Trump administration could seize on an opportunity to immediately abandon ACA-backed programs.

Despite a federal judge's dramatic ruling invalidating the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, the Trump administration will continue to enforce the law while the appeals process progresses.

That means the final day of the open-enrollment period for 2019 coverage will carry on Saturday, as planned, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Adminsitrator Seema Verma.

"The recent federal court decision is still moving through the courts, and the exchanges are still open for business and we will continue with open enrollment," Verma tweeted Friday night. "There is no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan."

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In a separate statement released to HealthLeaders by a CMS spokesperson, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the decision "vindicates" President Trump's position that the ACA is unconstutional.

"We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court," Sanders said. "Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place."

Trump celebrated the ruling Friday night in a series of tweets that called on Congress to enact a replacement for the sweeping Obama-era law.

The administration's move to continue enforcing the status quo brushes aside some concerns that the administration could seize on an opportunity to immediately abandon ACA-backed programs.

University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley, who argued in an amicus brief that the judge should reject the plaintiffs' request to invalidate the ACA, said the administration had some discretion in how it would respond to the ruling.

"The wildcard here is the Trump administration, which has choices about how to respond," Bagley said in a tweet prior to the administration announcing its response. "Will it keep enforcing, as it has been, while the case is still pending? That's my expectation. But if it throws a fit of pique and stops enforcing altogether, that could get ugly."


Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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