Published: Sun, December 16, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Federal judge rules Obamacare as 'unconstitutional', hands political victory to Trump

Federal judge rules Obamacare as 'unconstitutional', hands political victory to Trump

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is gearing up for a battle over Americans' healthcare coverage after a federal judge in Texas struck down the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act Friday.

"While the district court's absurd ruling will be immediately appealed, Republicans are fully responsible for this cruel decision and for the fear they have struck into millions of families across America who are now in danger of losing their health coverage", Pelosi said.

The law will remain in place for now as the appeal process continues, a fact acknowledged by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, even as the executive branch took a victory lap.

A lawsuit filed by 19 republican attorneys general and a republican governor argued that since the penalty had been eliminated, Obamacare was no longer constitutional. California and other states had intervened to defend the 2010 health care law after the Trump administration declined to defend its provisions that guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, arguing that those provisions can not be separated from the mandate. Progressives in Congress may take the opportunity to try to pass a more comprehensive health care bill, although with Republicans still controlling the Senate, such a measure could die in the House.

"No one in America should let this Texas district court ruling discourage them from enrolling in health coverage or be anxious about using the health coverage they have", Lee stated. The Supreme Court's reasoning in NFIB-buttressed by other binding precedent and plain text-thus compels the conclusion that the Individual Mandate may no longer be upheld under the Tax Power.

"The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole", wrote O'Connor in his 55-page opinion, Bloomberg reports. "Unable to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, Republicans have turned to conservative judges to try and do the job".

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The Trump administration said in June that it would not defend several important provisions of Obamacare in court. If they do, given the changed composition of the Supreme Court since the 2012 ruling, it is possible the Supreme Court will agree with Judge O'Connor's ruling.

Without those protections, insurers could return to denying coverage to such people or to charging them more.

"If this bad 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 his ruling, O'Connor agreed with the plaintiffs that the individual mandate could not be severed from the rest of the Affordable Care Act because it was "the keystone" of the law, essential to its regulation of the health insurance market. "We'll be able to get great health care". If you have a pre-existing condition, you could be denied insurance or have to pay more for your coverage.

Through Dec. 9, 4.7 million has signed up for the health insurance, including 1.4 million new consumers, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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