Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional

Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional

A federal judge in Texas threw a dagger into the Affordable Care Act on Friday, ruling that the entire health-care law is unconstitutional because of a recent change in federal tax law. United States, concluding that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that, as a effect, the entire Affordable Care Act is invalid.

I provided background on the implausible claims behind this suit here and here.

"Congress stated many times unequivocally - through enacted text signed by the president - that the individual mandate is "essential" to the ACA", O'Connor wrote. The case will now go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the majority of the judges have been appointed by Republican presidents. Bloomberg has more, with the publication adding that the DOJ tried to argue that the individual mandate, including provisions to keep the premium rates the same among healthy individuals and those with pre-existing conditions, should be struck down, but keep the rest of the law intact.

U.S. President Donald Trump called the decision "great news for America".

"Today's ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA's consumer protections for health care, and on America's faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement, Bloomberg reports, adding that a "spokeswoman for Becerra said an appeal will be filed before January 1".

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"The court recognized that the individual mandate penalty is unconstitutional, found that the entirety of the act could not be separated from the individual mandate penalty, and as a result, entered a judgment that the entirety of the affordable care act is invalid", Henneke said in an interview with the Star-Telegram on Friday. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!'

Twenty Republican-led states, including Kansas, brought the lawsuit.

The decision was a break with a long-standing executive branch practice of defending existing statutes in court.

Politifact notes that 20 million people gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act. "Congress severed that thin thread with the tax act of 2017, and all of Obamacare must fall". The Democrats contend that the Republican tax law will lower the federal penalty for being uninsured to $0, but does not negate the ACA's constitutionality.

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