Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional

An open enrollment page on the

An open enrollment page on the

In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that last year's tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under "Obamacare" by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.

Obamacare is fatally flawed and should be considered null and void, a federal judge said Friday in a bombshell ruling that sides with state Republicans who argue the GOP-led Congress' decision to gut the "individual mandate" penalty for going uninsured makes the rest of the program invalid.

President Donald Trump hailed the ruling, tweeting: "As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!" They trace their argument to the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling in which Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority that the penalty the law created for Americans who do not carry health insurance is constitutional because Congress "does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance".

"The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole", O'Connor wrote. An alliance of 19 Republican attorneys general and a governor led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged the law. No matter how O'Connor ruled, legal experts have been forecasting that the Texas case would be appealed and could well place the law again before the high court, giving its conservative newest member, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a first opportunity to take part. They claimed that when Congress repealed the tax penalty past year, it eliminated the US Supreme Court's rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012. The states said the rest of the law should fall with it, including protections for people with preexisting medical conditions like cancer or diabetes. We can not go back to the days when insurance companies regularly denied coverage for people who are sick.

Democratic leaders, meanwhile, reacted harshly to the decision.

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But Democrats are certain to wait out the case in appellate courts or recommend easier fixes to restore the mandate.

It is unclear what will happen to the law's many provisions until an appeal reaches the Supreme Court. President Trump has vowed since his campaign to dismantle the law, a main domestic achievement of his predecessor, and the administration has been taking steps on its own to foster alternative insurance that tends to be less expensive because it skirts ACA requirements. "Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law". The Supreme Court may or may not choose to hear the appeal, however.

All these provisions meant millions of people with less-than-perfect health records could get comprehensive coverage.

Under the law's community rating provision, insurers are not allowed to set premiums based on a person's health history.

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