The commentariat of the health law and policy world scrambled the jets and armed their opinion weapons on Friday night when news broke: A federal district court judge in Texas had ruled the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate had, once again, been found unconstitutional and declared the remaining provisions of the law inseverable and therefore invalid. (The first holding actually has happened three times before, in other federal district courts, followed by different mixes of full inseverability, partial severability, and full severability, respectively.)
They say nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes. At this point, we might add Obamacare lawsuits to that list.
In the latest stage of ongoing legal challenges, Judge Reed O’Connor of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that actions by Congress last year effectively invalidated the nearly 9-year-old law. However, despite this latest development, the ACA is still the law of the land and it probably will remain that way.
The House recently passed two bills (H.R. 6199 and H.R. 6311) that would make a number of modifications to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). While most of the provisions contained in these bills would increase the usefulness of HSAs to consumers, their cumulative effect on costs wouldn’t be noticeable in the context of the immense U.S. health sector. HSAs won’t reach their full potential until more is done to promote vigorous price competition among those supplying services to HSA enrollees.