Friday, 18 January, 2019

Obamacare ruled unconstitutional by US federal judge in Texas

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Melissa Porter | 15 December, 2018, 06:22

A US federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday that the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, is unconstitutional.

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. This is a surprising result, and one that is hard to justify. "For the reasons stated above, the Court grants Plaintiffs partial summary judgment and declares the Individual Mandate, 26 U.S.C. ยง 5000A (a), UNCONSTITUTIONAL". The decision is nearly certain to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

The attorney for the suit, Robert Henneke, said the Affordable Care Act is no longer legal because Congress deleted the individual mandate in the GOP's tax bill previous year.

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. "The judge's decision vindicates President Trump's position that Obamacare is unconstitutional".

The case is expected to be appealed and eventually reach the Supreme Court.

A federal Fort Worth judge filed a decision in a national Obamacare ruling on Friday, casting doubt on coverage for millions of Americans. Trump tweeted. "Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions". Currently, about 10 million have subsidized private insurance through the health law's insurance markets, while an estimated 12 million low-income people are covered through its Medicaid expansion.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has been leading the multi-state coalition to defend the law, issued a statement saying: "The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court". 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.

Twenty Republican-led states brought the lawsuit. 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.

"The ruling seems to be based on faulty legal reasoning and hopefully it will be overturned", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted.