Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional


A federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional in whole on Friday night, likely setting up a final decision on the law's fate at the Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump hailed the ruling, tweeting: "As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!"

In NFIB (2012 Supreme Court Obamacare decision), the Supreme Court held the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional under the Interstate Commerce Clause but could fairly be read as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power because it triggered a tax. After Trump ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the health law, a coalition of ACA-supporting states took up the defense. "The A.C.A. has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court". "Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place".

"Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law". The plaintiffs argue that the entire ACA is invalid.

The move now threatens 20 million who rely on its coverage. Meanwhile, a number of states are expected to move forward with Medicaid expansion after Democratic victories in the midterm elections. Justice officials contended that, once the insurance mandate's penalty is gone next month, that will invalidate the ACA's consumer protections, such as its ban on charging more or refusing to cover people with preexisting medical conditions. "We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions have protection, and we want to make sure that people have access to affordable coverage". 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.

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The strategy worked, as Democrats flipped dozens of House seats to retake the majority.

The coalition of states challenging the law was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, both Republicans. The conservative judge had previously ruled against other Obama-era policies.

Its timing is also remarkable, coming roughly 24 hours before the deadline to enroll in Obamacare-related coverage on the federal website serving much of the country.

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

"We do have contingency plans", she said then.

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