A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the high-stakes dispute over the Affordable Care Act.
The future of the Affordable Care Act was up for debate Tuesday afternoon at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, where a three-judge panel heard from attorneys representing the U.S. Department of Justice, the House of Representatives, and a majority of the nation's 50 states.
The appellate judges are reviewing U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor's decision late last year to declare the entire ACA invalid in light of Congress zeroing out the individual mandate's tax penalty. Although the DOJ originally argued that most of the ACA should remain intact even if the law's mandate were struck down, the DOJ has since shifted its legal position to agree generally with O'Connor's decision.
In addition to the merits of the dispute, the judges—Carolyn King, Jennifer Elrod, and Kurt Engelhardt—are considering whether the House and a California-led coalition of state attorneys general have standing to intervene in the case. If the interveners lack standing, then there might not be a live dispute between the Texas-led plaintiffs and the federal defendants.
Below is an audio recording of the hearing, as released by the court:
—Steven Porter is an associate content manager and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.
Each side had 45 minutes to make its case before the appellate judges.
The court released audio of the hearing shortly after its conclusion.