The Baltimore Sun

By Ian Duncan

December 15, 2018

A federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Healthcare Act in a ruling late Friday, concluding that the whole thing is unconstitutional.

The case was backed by a number of Republican-led states and the Trump Administration declined to defend the law in court. Democratic members of Congress and state attorneys general stepped in to stand up for the law.

What does the ruling mean for people in Maryland?

Obamacare remains in effect and the decision will almost certainly be appealed

The act, also known as Obamacare, remains in place for now. The decision will likely be appealed and ultimately end in the Supreme Court, which has previously ruled that the law is constitutional.

Should the new ruling ultimately stand, it would cause significant disruption to the nation’s healthcare system. In Maryland, supporters of the law say as many as 3.5 million state residents could either lose their coverage or face higher insurance premiums.

Vincent De Marco, the president of pro-Obamacare group Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, called the ruling “a devastating blow to the health security of Marylanders.”

Maryland residents can still sign up for insurance plans until midnight Saturday

Saturday is the deadline for people to enroll in individual insurance plans. People can sign up online at Maryland Health Connection and get help over the phone until 10 p.m.

More than 400,000 Maryland residents have obtained health coverage through the system, either using the individual insurance marketplace or an expansion of Medicaid included in Obamacare, according to the state.

Attorney General Brian Frosh is seeking ruling from a federal judge in Maryland that the health law is constitutional

After the U.S. Department of Justice said it wouldn’t defend Obamacare in court, Frosh filed a case in September. It seeks what’s known as a declaratory judgment saying that Obamacare passes constitutional muster. The Justice Department is seeking to have Frosh’s suit thrown out, arguing that Maryland doesn’t have grounds to bring a case in the first place.

Frosh acknowledged that the case was unusual but said it was important that Maryland fight in court.

“When you have the justice department, whose job it is to defend the constitutionality of U.S. laws, declining to do that, and you have other parties, Republican attorneys general, suing to have it declared unconstitutional, it’s appropriate,” Frosh said.

A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday before a federal judge in Baltimore.

Last modified: December 15, 2018