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Obamacare In Jeopardy After Fort Worth Federal Judge Rules Act Unconstitutional

17 December 2018, 06:29 | Rodolfo Wallace

A Texas Federal Judge Ruled That The Affordable Care Act is Unconstitutional

Obamacare to be considered by new-look US Supreme Court after Texas judge rules it is unconstitutional

"This (ruling) is about, first of all, throwing people off of their insurance, no protection with pre-existing conditions, kids staying on their parents' insurance until they're 26 years old - a very popular and important protection - Medicaid expanded for millions of Americans", she said during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation".

"You might have heard about a federal court decision on a Republican lawsuit trying to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety", the former president said in a post on Facebook and on Twitter.

President Donald Trump ailed a court decision against Obamacare as "a great ruling for our country", while a US government official said the decision by a Texas judge would have no immediate impact on health coverage.

The challenge to the ACA brought by Republican attorneys general is aimed at eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions, Kodjak says.

Since the individual mandate penalty was dropped to $0, the Supreme Court's ruling of the law is now a different one than was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the judge reasoned.

Democrats tried and failed to force a vote on the Manchin proposal in August, and a Manchin unanimous consent request to call up and pass the measure n September 5, faced objection.

Since that change in position, Trump and other Republicans have sent mixed signals on the ACA - asking the judge to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions but insisting during the midterm elections that they would preserve those protections, and accusing Democrats of undermining them.

If Obamacare was overturned, the impact would be devastating for millions of Americans.

Texas and an alliance of 19 states argued to the judge that they've been harmed by an increase in the number of people on state-supported insurance rolls.

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Judge Reed agreed, writing the penalty can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress' tax power.

"There are many good provisions of the law". He also wrote that it's clear the individual mandate is the linchpin of the law "without marching through every nook and cranny of the ACA's 900-plus pages".

"It's absolutely ludicrous to hold that we do not know whether the 2017 Congress would have wanted the rest of the ACA to exist without an enforceable mandate, because the 2017 Congress did exactly that when it zeroed out the mandate and left the rest of the ACA standing", Gluck said.

The surprise decision Friday already has both sides of the debate posturing, with Democrats claiming the ruling is but a hiccup and Republicans suggesting this could be their chance, at last, to abolish the law - which remains largely in place despite President Trump's past claims to the contrary.

The case was pursued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was joined by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors.

Timothy Jost, a health law expert and emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia, said it was "silly" and "irresponsible" for O'Connor to find that the individual mandate could not be separated from the rest of the ACA. "This whole thing is bonkers".

In other words - the judge's own words - with the individual mandate unconstitutional, the remaining provisions of the ACA "are INSEVERABLE and therefore INVALID". As of December 8, 4.1 million people had chosen plans through the federal-government run portal that 39 states use for enrollment. In the prior year, the total enrolled was 12.2 million.

Because the Trump administration decided not to defend the health care law in court, Democratic attorneys general led by California have been defending it.



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