Federal Judge In Texas Declares Obamacare Law Unconstitutional

Health bosses reeling as judge rules Obamacare 'unconstitutional'

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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.

"As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!"

A coalition of Democratic state officials led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will appeal O'Connor's decision, most likely to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.

Legal scholars say that if the lawsuit is taken by the Supreme Court, it'll be in 2020 at the earliest that the justices hear the case.

O'Connor's late Friday ruling "exposes the monstrous endgame of Republicans' all-out assault on people with pre-existing conditions and Americans' access to affordable health care", Pelosi said in a statement.

While the decision by the Republican-appointed judge in Texas was sweeping, it has little immediate practical impact because the Affordable Care Act remains in place while the legal battle continues, possibly to the Supreme Court. Schumer went further and said if "a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate say that this case should be overturned, it'll have a tremendous effect on the appeal". If the entire health law is invalidated, popular provisions that benefit Medicare beneficiaries and people with employer coverage would also be scrapped.

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

He was referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, and Representative Nancy Pelosi, who will likely become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives when the Democrats take control of the chamber in January.

Saturday was the last day of open enrollment for the ACA in most states.

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About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote. "This decision denies coverage to more than 100 million Americans, including seniors, veterans, children, people with disabilities, hardworking Americans with low incomes, young adults on their parents' plans under age 26, and millions of Americans with preexisting conditions". Meanwhile, a number of states are expected to move forward with Medicaid expansion after Democratic victories in the midterm elections.

In a 2012 case known as NFIB v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court upheld the all-encompassing, 2,000-page act as constitutional, on the theory that the individual mandate-which forced Americans to buy health insurance even if they didn't want it-was a valid exercise of Congress's power to tax. "Obamacare" opponents lost both the first two cases.

The main provision in question is that of the individual mandate, which requires that everyone must have health insurance.

Since then, public opinion on the overhaul has shifted from mostly negative to generally favourable.

Republicans who tried to undermine those safeguards during their failed effort to repeal the health law previous year were forced on the defensive and went on record saying they, too, want to make sure people with health problems can get coverage.

In the 2018 election, Democrats across the country highlighted the GOP's attempts to do away with Obamacare's consumer protections, and it paid dividends as the party won 40 House seats.

Despite Trump's celebration of the judge's decision, his administration made clear that the current law remains in effect for now.

On Friday, O'Connor ruled that after Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill passed by Congress past year that eliminated the penalties, the individual mandate could no longer be considered constitutional. "There's nobody in the Senate that I'm familiar with who is not in favor of coverage of pre-existing conditions".

- The prohibition on insurers charging higher premiums to people with health problems. "It will destabilize health insurance coverage by rolling back federal policy to 2009". The ruling was opposed by healthcare groups and, if upheld, threatens to throw insurance markets into chaos and strip coverage from tens of millions of Americans.

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