January 19, 2019

Judge Declares ObamaCare Unconstitutional, Trump Celebrates on Twitter

15 December 2018, 06:25 | Rodolfo Wallace

It is unclear what will happen to Obamacare's many provisions following the ruling

Texas judge dismantles Obamacare ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

US District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that he had to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act, the signature health-care overhaul by President Obama, after Congress previous year zeroed out a key provision - the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance.

President Donald Trump hailed the ruling, tweeting: "As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!"

"Congress stated many times unequivocally - through enacted text signed by the President - that the Individual Mandate is "essential" to the ACA", O'Connor wrote in the decision, using the initials of the law's formal title, the Affordable Care Act.

California and Democratic officials in 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, won permission to defend ACA in the Fort Worth case when the Trump administration sided with the states seeking to dismantle it. The Supreme Court may or may not choose to hear the appeal, however.

'Once again, the president calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with preexisting conditions and provide Americans with quality affordable healthcare, ' White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place".

Judge Reed O'Connor agreed with them, declaring the mandate and Obamacare "inseverable and therefore invalid". If the entire health law is invalidated, popular provisions that benefit Medicare beneficiaries and people with employer coverage would also be scrapped.

About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote.

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The top Senate Democrat on Friday night criticized the court's decision. "When House Democrats take the gavel, the House of Representatives will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans' effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act".

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office said the state would appeal the ruling.

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The Trump administration weighed in, saying the government would no longer defend some core components of the ACA, but that others could remain, including Medicaid expansion, subsidies for private insurance and health insurance markets.

"We do have contingency plans", she said then.

Judge O'Connor's decision tonight effectively argues the opposite.

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