Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional

Texas judge dismantles Obamacare ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

Texas judge dismantles Obamacare ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

"A federal judge in Texas threw a dagger on Friday into the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the entire health-care law is unconstitutional because of a recent change in federal tax law", writes the Washington Post.

With the mandate's repeal, the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 ruling that Obamacare was constitutional could no longer be considered valid.

The case against the ACA, also known as Obamacare, brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, as well as two individuals.

The Texas court ruling came a day before the deadline for Obamacare enrolment for the coming year. "And this essentiality, the ACA's text makes clear, means the mandate must work "together with the other provisions" for the Act to function as intended". Republicans who tried to undermine those safeguards during their failed effort to repeal the health law a year ago were forced on the defensive and went on record saying they, too, want to make sure people with health problems can get coverage.

The ruling doesn't go into effect immediately, and is nearly certain to be appealed by state attorneys general who are defending the law.

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

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U.S. President Donald Trump called the decision "great news for America". "For the reasons stated above, the Court grants Plaintiffs partial summary judgment and declares the Individual Mandate, 26 U.S.C. § 5000A (a), UNCONSTITUTIONAL". It agreed that the zeroing out the penalty renders the individual mandate unconstitutional but argued that that invalidates only the law's protections of those with pre-existing conditions. The court case argued that all of the pieces of the law were dependent upon each other, so by eliminating the penalty the rest of the law fell apart.

The law includes provisions that provide subsidies that help people buy coverage, its expansion of Medicaid to millions of low income people, and its protections that let people with pre-existing conditions buy insurance.

About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote. 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. California and other states had intervened to defend the 2010 health care law after the Trump administration declined to defend its provisions that guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, arguing that those provisions can not be separated from the mandate.

O'Connor's decision could set off a scramble in Congress, where some lawmakers want to step in to defend the decision.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurers often rejected applicants who are or had been ill or offered them only limited coverage with high rates.

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