California v. Texas

UPDATE: May 13, 2020

Today CPR, along with 18 other national disability rights organizations, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides important protections for people with disabilities. In March, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case, formerly known as Texas v. US and now known as California v. Texas, which it will hear next term.

The repeal of the ACA would reverse years of progress. CPR remains committed to promoting access to healthcare for people with disabilities and stands firm in our defense of this groundbreaking law that has helped millions gain access to healthcare that actually meets their needs. You can find more information on the case, including media and resources, below.


The Texas v. US decision is part of the broader effort to weaken and get rid of the ACA. The lawsuit was brought by a group of states challenging the Constitutionality of the individual mandate.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) not only refused to defend critical parts of the ACA, but also actively requested that the court invalidate the ACA requirements that guarantee coverage for everyone and stop insurers from charging people with disabilities higher costs.   In Congress, a number of House committee chairs have sent letters asking for documents and other information about the change in the Administration’s position in the case.

On December 14, 2018, a federal district judge in Texas issued a decision declaring the “individual mandate” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) –  the individual coverage requirement – unconstitutional due to the Republican tax cut bill that zeroed out the penalties.  Even more drastically, the court declared the entire ACA unconstitutional rather than just the provisions it had found unconstitutional.  Among other things, this would end the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including disabilities.  

The decision hasn’t changed anything yet.  The ACA is intact, and the insurance marketplaces remain in place.  As the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has stated, “HHS will continue administering and enforcing all aspects of the ACA as it had before the court issued its decision. This decision does not require that HHS make any changes to any of the ACA programs it administers or its enforcement of any portion of the ACA at this time.”

The case was appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On March 25, 2019, a coalition of more than 20 states, led by California, filed a brief arguing in favor of the constitutionality of the ACA.  On April 1, a number of disability organizations, including CPR, filed a brief with the Court describing the importance of the ACA to people with disabilities and asking the court to find the ACA constitutional. A coalition of states and DC also intervened in the case to defend the ACA.  

On May 1, 2019, the DOJ filed a brief on behalf of the Trump Administration.  DOJ for the first time argued that the entire ACA should be struck down, including the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  In the district court, DOJ had argued that the individual mandate to have health insurance coverage was unconstitutional but that the court should “sever” that section of the ACA and uphold the rest of the law.  This article provides a good description of DOJ’s brief and what it means.   

This past July, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments and, on December 18, 2019, ruled that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional and sent it back in the hands of the district court judge – who has already once struck down the entire ACA as unconstitutional – to decide whether to invalidate the entire law. The district court has issued a “stay” on its decision to strike down the ACA during the lawsuit. That means that the ACA remains in effect while the case is litigated through the court system. For more on the Fifth Circuit’s decision, read our full statement here.

Texas v. United States: Background and Legal Filings

General Background on the Case

Potential Impact of Texas v. U.S. Decision on Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser Family Foundation (1/3/20)

Texas v. United States Oral Arguments In July, Health Affairs (4/12/19)

Statement from the Department of Health and Human Services on Texas v. Azar (12/17/18)

Justice in Aging Statement on Affordable Care Act Decision in Texas (12/21/18)

National Health Law Program Says Texas Judge’s Decision on Affordable Care Act is ‘Fatally Flawed’ (12/17/18)

Federal Judge Strikes Down Entire ACA; Law Remains In Effect, Health Affairs (12/15/18)

A Federal Judge has Ruled the Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional. So Now What Happens?, USA Today (12/17/18)

The Trump Administration Joins a Lawsuit to Shred Obamacare, The Economist (6/8/18)

Legal Filings

On March 2020 Decision by Supreme Court to Grant Certiorari

Justices grant Affordable Care Act petitions, SCOTUS Blog (3/2/20)

Supreme Court to Hear Obamacare Appeal, New York Times (3/2/20)

Supreme Court to Review Affordable Care Act Next Term, Wall Street Journal (3/2/20)

Supreme Court’s Obamacare review cheers Democrats with election year health-care focus, Washington Post (3/2/20)

Supreme Court will hear major challenge to Obamacare, POLITICO (3/2/20)

On January 2020 Motion for Expedited Consideration by Supreme Court

Democratic states ask Supreme Court to rule on Obamacare before election, POLITICO (1/3/20)

House, blue states ask justices to uphold Affordable Care Act, SCOTUSblog (1/3/20)

Democratic-led states ask Supreme Court to quickly review Affordable Care Act’s legality, Washington Post (1/3/20)

On March 2019 DOJ Filing

Trump Administration Asks Court To Strike Down Entire ACA , Health Affairs (3/26/19)

Briefs Filed in Texas v. US

Opening Brief from Coalition of Attorneys General Defending the ACA

Please follow and like us: