Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Health Care | By Terrence Lopez

Federal judge declares Obama health care overhaul unconstitutional

Federal judge declares Obama health care overhaul unconstitutional

A federal judge in the U.S. state of Texas has ruled that a key part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional.

Texas, along with 19 states, had argued to U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor that they had been hurt by a jump in the amount of people utilizing state-backed insurance.

If appealed, the decision would still need to go through the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

A federal judge late Friday struck down the 2010 health care law, siding with a group of conservative states that argued the law is unconstitutional after Republicans in Congress eliminated a key part of it. The judgment could affect insurance coverage for millions of Americans, just before the end of a six-week open enrollment period for the program in 2019. The lawsuit argues that, with the enforcement of the insurance requirement gone, there is no longer a tax, so the law is not constitutional anymore.

"Today's ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA's consumer protections for health care, and on America's faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

On Friday night, President Donald Trump celebrated a Texas judge's ruling putting Obamacare at risk by declaring it "great news".

O'Connor said that because the individual mandate is "essential" to the rest of the ACA, all of Obamacare is invalid.

"The Republican Party should be ashamed and leaders in Congress must fight back against this reckless decision".

As part of a tax overhaul a year ago, congressional Republicans pushed through a change in which that ACA penalty will be eliminated, starting in January.

Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown tweeted: "This decision threatens the health coverage of 20 million people and undermines pre-existing condition protections for all Americans". Three-quarters of Americans say that it is "very important" for the law to continue prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage because of medical histories, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's September tracking poll - 58% of Republicans feel the same way. After Trump ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the health law, a coalition of ACA-supporting states took up the defense. Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions.

Paxton says President Donald Trump's tax plan past year made the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional because it did away with the tax penalty levied on those who didn't have insurance.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters in November that the administration had contingency plans in place for a ruling if the law was overturned, but declined to elaborate on them.

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