TexasFoldEm: Danger, Will Robinson...

2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

Reed O'Conner, the hard-right wing judge presiding over the idiotic #TexasFoldEm lawsuit which could potentially wipe out the Affordable Care Act as soon as January 1st, has been radio silent for the past week since he heard oral arguments over the case from the dueling bands of state Attorneys General.

However, if Tim Jost's description of how that hearing went is anything to go by, it's looking pretty ominous:

To enter the Fort Worth Courtroom of Judge Reed O’Connor on September 5, 2018, was to leave the real world.  The Affordable Care Act was once again on trial.  At stake was access to health care for the 20 million Americans who have gained coverage through the ACA, affordable coverage for 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, and preventive services coverage for 44 million Medicare beneficiaries.

But the devastating consequences of his potential decision in the case before him were of no interest to Judge O’Connor, who showed no sign of having read the amicus briefs filed by virtually every stakeholder in the American healthcare system—doctors, hospitals, insurers, patient groups, consumer organizations, small businesses, older Americans, as well as numerous health economists and public health experts--demonstrating those consequences.  He also showed absolutely no interest in the announced intentions of the Senators who had voted for the amendment to the ACA that had provoked the lawsuit.

...But none of this was of any interest to Judge O’Connor.  Rather he questioned the attorneys for the next hour trying to elicit support for the plaintiffs’ arguments. 

...At some point, a court should ask the really important questions: are the plaintiffs really injured by a $0 tax?  What devastating injuries would patients, providers, and states suffer if the ACA is invalidated? Did anyone in Congress intend to repeal the ACA when they voted to zero out the mandate tax?  Should an unelected federal judge do what the elected representatives of the people have repeatedly refused to do?  None of these questions interested Judge O’Connor in the least.

When will O'Conner issue his ruling? Who knows? My guess is he'll wait until after the Supreme Court confirmation vote on Brett Kavanaugh.