A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the healthcare law known as Obamacare is unconstitutional – a ruling that opposition Democrats quickly vowed to appeal.
15 December 2018
US District Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision came on the eve of a Saturday deadline to sign up for 2019 coverage in the federal healthcare program, known officially as the Affordable Care Act.
The White House said it expects the case to be appealed to the Supreme Court. “Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place,” it said in a statement.
At the US Supreme Court, five justices in the nine-judge court who voted to uphold Obamacare in a separate case in 2012 are still on the bench.Conservative Republicans have long opposed President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare plan which he signed into law in 2010.
Trump’s response to the Obamacare ruling reveals his bind on healthcare
The president tweeted out a request for a “GREAT” healthcare law, after a federal court ruled Obamacare unconstitutional.
By Rachel Withers Dec 15, 2018, Vox
Even as President Donald Trump cheered a Friday federal court ruling that declared Obamacare unconstitutional, he was already calling for a new law that would reinstate some of the popular provisions that Texas v. United States was looking to undo, including protections for preexisting conditions.
He turned to Twitter to ask Congress for a replacement: a “STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions.” He directed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and soon-to-be House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to “get it done.”
Earlier Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas found that since a 2017 tax bill removed the fine for remaining uninsured, the individual mandate was now unconstitutional. (It was originally upheld in the Supreme Court as a “tax,” but without a penalty, can no longer be considered so, US DistrictJudge Reed O’Connor found.) Twenty state attorneys argued in a lawsuit partially supported by the Trump administration that the entire Affordable Care Act has to go, too. O’Connor agreed.
“The Court finds the Individual Mandate ‘is essential to’ and inseverable from ‘the other provisions’ of the ACA,” the judge wrote in a late Friday ruling.
Trump claimed late Friday that he had predicted “all along” that Obamacare would be struck down as unconstitutional. “All along” is a vague and questionable claim, as the unconstitutionality ruling, which is expected by many to be overturned, relies on Congress’s 2017 tax bill, which ended the financial penalties for remaining uninsured….
…It’s not clear what the Trump administration will do next, or who will appeal on behalf of the law. While the administration did not defend the ACA in court, a group of attorneys general from 16 pro-Obamacare states (and the District of Columbia) stepped in to defend the law, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has already vowed to appeal the decision, according to Politico, though it’s not clear when.
But Trump himself appears to be calling for a new law, or even a stronger one, and he’s not alone.
As Klein argued on Friday, the GOP’s continued assault on the Affordable Care Act is actually a strong argument for Democrats gunning to implement some version of Medicaid-for-all. Just imagine: “a universal health care system simple enough and popular enough that it is safe from constant political and legal assault.”