Texas judge dismantles Obamacare, ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

Texas judge dismantles Obamacare, ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

In a ruling released Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas sided with 19 states arguing that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" are unconstitutional.

Leaning on the U.S. Supreme Court decision that the ACA is a tax, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor said that the entire law was invalidated by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which zeroed out the individual mandate penalty. We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The coalition of states challenging the law was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, both Republicans. The judgment could affect insurance coverage for millions of Americans, just before the end of a six-week open enrollment period for the program in 2019.

"Perhaps it is impossible to know which minor provisions Congress would have passed absent the individual mandate", O'Connor wrote.

The lawsuit, which was created to kill ObamaCare, is supported by President Trump.

President Trump, who lambasted his own party for failing to repeal and replace the law as promised, applauded the decision.

He ruled that the individual mandate was now unconstitutional.

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"If this terrible ruling is upheld in the higher courts, it will be a disaster for tens of millions of American families, especially for people with pre-existing conditions", said Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

In Texas alone, there are more than 4.5 million "nonelderly adults" with pre-existing conditions that could make it hard for them to get health insurance if Obamacare went away, statistics show. The plaintiffs argue that the law in its entirety is invalid because the removal of the penalty tax nullifies the argument used by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 upholding the law on the premise that the ACA is ultimately a tax and thus falls under the authority of Congress, which has "the power to impose taxes", in this case "on those without health insurance".

"We'll continue to fight in court for New Yorkers and all Americans", she said on Twitter.

But other states have argued that eliminating Obamacare would harm millions of Americans, and pending any appeal the landmark health care law remains in place.

He followed that missive with another celebratory tweet, demanding that House Speaker-Designate Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately work on replacement legislation that will protect pre-existing conditions and provide great health care.

The ACA can only stand as it was originally designed by Congress, O'Connor added, saying that lawmakers needed to have the penalty to force people to sign up for exchange insurance.

Since Judge O'Connor did not issue an injunction, the Affordable Care Act and its provisions will remain intact for the time being, meaning no one with an insurance plan via the ACA will lose coverage.

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