Ruling on Affordable Care Act has no immediate impact

Murkowski: confident higher courts will review the decision

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told Alaskans on Dec. 15 that a federal court decision striking down all of the Affordable Care Act has no immediate impact and that she is confident higher courts will review the decision.

Murkowski’s comments came in the wake of the Dec. 14 ruling in Fort Worth, Texas by Judge Reed O’Connor that the individual mandate requiring people to have health insurance “can no longer be sustained as an exercise of Congress’s tax power.”

O’Connor said that therefore “the individual mandate is unconstitutional” and the rest of the legislation is invalid.

The big question is whether the Affordable Care Act mandate still compels people to buy coverage, since Congress reduced the penalty for not buying coverage to zero. Millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions rely on this legislation for their health care.

The O’Connor decision is expected to be challenges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

Murkowski said that provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have benefitted so many people, including protections for pre-existing conditions that prevent insurers from arbitrarily denying coverage, must be preserved.


“I want to give Alaskans and all Americans, the certainty they need that protections for those with pre-existing conditions will remain intact, which is why I support legislation to make certain o one loses coverage based on health status,” she said. “I do not support pulling the rug out from under people. The importance of access to healthcare cannot be understated, and I am committed to ensuring that all Alaskans have access to affordable, quality healthcare.”