If Friday night’s district court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional were to be upheld, far more than the law’s most high-profile provisions would be at stake.
In fact, canceling the law in full — as Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, ordered in his 55-page decision — could thrust the entire health care system into chaos.
“To erase a law that is so interwoven into the health care system blows up every part of it,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a health law professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health. “In law they have names for these — they are called super statutes,” she said. “And [the ACA] is a super statute. It has changed everything about how we get health care.”