Friday, 18 January, 2019

United States judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Democrats vow to appeal

27 2017 shows a man walking by an healthcare insurance office in Hialeah Florida 27 2017 shows a man walking by an healthcare insurance office in Hialeah Florida
Melissa Porter | 16 December, 2018, 09:58

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of 20 states that a change in tax law past year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire Obamacare law.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh launched a counterattack September 13 to save Obamacare, seeking a judgment that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and a court order barring the USA from taking any action inconsistent with that conclusion.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who spearheaded the suit, celebrated the ruling on Twitter with three exclamation points: "BREAKING: Texas Federal judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional!" "If they can't get it done in Congress, they'll keep trying in the courts, even when it puts people's pre-existing conditions coverage at risk", Obama said.

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.

But other states have argued that eliminating Obamacare would harm millions of Americans, and pending any appeal the landmark health care law remains in place.

Angry Democrats vowed to fight back as they blamed Republicans for what they see as a debacle that will leave millions of Americans without health care.

"This outrageous ruling threatens health coverage for millions of Americans". The Supreme Court had previously upheld the ACA in 2012 based on its classification as a tax - something within Congress' authority to impose. Without the fine, the ruling says, the ACA is unconstitutional.

Ruling to strike down health law puts GOP in a quandary | Miami Herald

A spokeswoman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, D, who leads a group of states opposing the lawsuit, said that the Democratic defenders of the law are ready to challenge the ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

"Mitch and Nancy, get it done!" he exclaimed in reference to the majority leaders of the Senate and House next year.

The president spent much of his first year in office attempting to repeal the ACA, known informally as Obamacare for its proponent in the White House before Trump. Around 130 million people in the United States have pre-existing conditions, and without the ACA, insurers would no longer be required to cover those conditions.

Timothy Jost, a health law expert and emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia, said it was "silly" and "irresponsible" for O'Connor to find that the individual mandate could not be separated from the rest of the ACA.

"When House Democrats take the gavel, the House of Representatives will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans' effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act", she said in a statement. President Donald Trump tweeted that Congress should pass a new law.

The American Medical Association called O'Connor's ruling an "unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections".