U.S. judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Democrats vow to appeal
15 December, 2018, 10:56 | Author: Sue Riley
The decision by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor is nearly guaranteed to go to the Supreme Court.
O'Connor's decision was issued the day before the end of a 45-day sign-up period for 2019 health coverage under the law.
Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees those insurance exchanges, said in a tweet: "The recent federal court decision is still moving through the courts, and the exchanges are still open for business and we will continue with open enrollment". Numerous high-ranking Republican lawmakers have said they did not intend to also strike down popular provisions such as protection for people with pre-existing medical conditions when they repealed the ACA's fines for people who can afford coverage but remain uninsured. The Supreme Court had previously upheld the ACA in 2012 based on its classification as a tax - something within Congress' authority to impose.
Obamacare was struck down by a Texas federal judge in a ruling that casts uncertainty on insurance coverage for millions of US residents.
The ruling doesn't go into effect immediately, and is nearly certain to be appealed by state attorneys general who are defending the law.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court".
It is all but certain the case will become the third time the Supreme Court decides a constitutional question related to the ACA.
"As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!"
Texas and an alliance of 19 states argued to the judge that they've been harmed by an increase in the number of people on state-supported insurance rolls.
Meanwhile, the White House called on Congress to replace Obamacare with an affordable healthcare system which protects people with pre-existing conditions. And yet, Republicans have made it clear that their priority is attacking access to critically-needed health care, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and insurance for young people.
Opposing the lawsuit are 17 Democratic attorneys general led by Xavier Becerra of California.
President Donald Trump was quick to take a victory lap, and pressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the presumed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to fix the problem. In June, the justice department partially sided with the Republican state attorneys general, agreeing that the individual mandate must be struck down as unconstitutional but arguing several other provisions could survive.
Trump responded to O'Connor's ruling in a series of celebratory tweets Friday.
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