Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, reacted after a split 5th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled 2 to 1 against the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate. The individual mandate is a central part of the ACA, requiring everyone to have health care coverage or pay a penalty with their annual tax filings. The circuit instructed the District Court, which had previously struck down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, to determine the next steps, including the possibility of again striking down the ACA. Schakowsky offered the following statement: 

“I am disgusted that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has punted on their responsibility to uphold the constitution and has instead chosen to imperil the health care of the hundreds of millions of Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its protections to survive, including over 130 million Americans living with preexisting conditions.

“The Court was only able to make this decision because President Trump’s Department of Justice refused to defend the ACA against an illogical lawsuit brought by Republican-led states after Congressional Republicans were unsuccessful in repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2017. Furthermore, the individual mandate is only being struck down because of the nefarious language tucked into President Trump’s signature legislative achievement, the Republican tax scam.

“While the Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act is dangerous and more threatening than ever, there is still hope. The ACA is still the law of the land. Democratic states and our House Democratic Majority have joined this lawsuit to defend your care and I will keep fighting to protect the ACA. But the Court’s decision today also reminds us that we must keep fighting for universal, high quality health care for all.”