Published: Mon, December 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

United States judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Democrats vow to appeal

United States judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Democrats vow to appeal

Texas judge Reed O'Connor ruled the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance, is unconstitutional and the rest of the law can not stand without it in his decision last week. But little will be different in the meantime. Today's misguided ruling will not deter us: "our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans". "It will destabilize health insurance coverage by rolling back federal policy to 2009".

O'Connor decided that once Congress repealed the tax penalty that enforced a mandate that most Americans get health insurance, the whole law became invalid.

Attorneys general in blue states intervened in the pending case, saying the 2010 Affordable Care Act should stand because the tax will still be on the books, even if it isn't actively collecting revenue, and that Congress chose to keep the rest of Obamacare in place previous year.

The Affordable Care Act, once ruled constitutional because of the "individual mandate" provision, has been now ruled unconstitutional by a Texas judge - due to that provision being eliminated.

Preserving the law's protections for people with medical conditions proved to be a strong argument for Democrats in the November elections.

Trump lost no time in tweeting his delight at the court's ruling on a complaint brought by several Republican attorneys general and two Republican governors. "I look forward to its appeal to a higher court, and I intend to fight to ensure that the Senate has an opportunity to intervene to defend these critical health safeguards".

While Trump has promised to protect people with pre-existing conditions, it's up to Congress to enact an Obamacare alternative if the courts strike down ACA. If Friday's decision is upheld, he said, "ultimately both parties should start over" to remake the health care system.

This comes the day before the Saturday deadline to enroll in the ACA. "There are things to do, but we should be working to improve the Affordable Care Act, not just throw it out and set it on fire".

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But like other Republicans giving interviews Sunday, he was lukewarm on O'Connor's ruling. If you haven't registered yet, you can do by visiting the Healthcare.gov website. It is already known that supporters of Obamacare will appeal against the ruling.

The 2,000-page law, however, covers a vast array of other health-care issues, touching nearly every part of the health-care industry in the United States.

"We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court", CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

The political stakes are great.

One factor that health policy analysts say could be depressing enrollment for 2019 is the move by the Trump administration allowing people to remain longer in less-expensive short-term health plans, also sometimes referred to as "skimpy" plans. Voters saw health care as an important issue in November's midterm elections.

Collins cast a decisive vote last December to pass the Republican tax bill that repealed the individual mandate.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who will lead Republicans into the minority next year, said his party's concerns with the constitutionality of Obamacare were validated, though he echoed the president's call for a bipartisan replacement.

"So now you have Republicans trying to play both sides, which is going to be hard", she says.

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