It’s looking more and more likely that a federal appeals court will strike down the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires Americans to carry health insurance, either through coverage they receive from their employer or buying it themselves. The case challenging the landmark health insurance law is currently before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is being heard by a three-judge panel. Two of the judges, appointed by Republicans, have signaled that they would strike down the individual mandate but not the remainder of the law, including the employer mandate, because of the lack of an individual penalty. The Justice Department would normally be defending the law of the land, but it has stepped away from the task and signaled that it would prefer to see the law abolished. At issue is the repeal by Congress in late 2017 of penalties for individuals that do not secure coverage as required by the law. Attorneys general from Republican states banded together to challenge the entire law after the individual penalty was abolished after Trump signed a tax bill that reduced the tax penalty to zero dollars. They argued that if that penalty is no longer applicable, the rest of the ACA is null and void. According to trade press reports, the two Republican-appointed judges probed the contention by Republican states’ attorneys general that the getting rid of the individual penalty nullifies the entire law. The two judges’ line of questioning hinted at their skepticism of that argument.