In a startling ruling on Friday, a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling striking down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
A sweeping ruling, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor determined the entire landmark Obama-era health care law was unconstitutional over Congress’ action of ending the individual mandate.
Ruling in favor of twenty state attorney generals who brought suit seeking to dismantle the eight-year-old law, Judge O’Connor wrote in his 55-page opinion:
“The individual mandate is so interwoven with the ACA’s regulations that they cannot be separated. None of them can stand.”
Touting the ruling, President Trump tweeted:
As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018
Trump followed up Monday saying he would work with congressional Democrats to come up with a replacement plan in the event the ruling is upheld by higher courts.
“We have a chance, working with the Democrats, to deliver great HealthCare! A confirming Supreme Court Decision will lead to GREAT HealthCare results for Americans!” Trump tweeted.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the likely next speaker, called Judge O’Connor’s ruling “absurd,” and said it exposes the “monstrous endgame of the GOP’s all-out assault” on American health care.
Signed into law in 2010, the law has survived two major court challenges in front of the High Court. In 2012, the law was sustained in a 5–4 judgement, ruling in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius the ACA was a tax, but within Congress’ authority.
A second fight in front of the High Court took place shortly after. In the 2015 King v. Burwell case, justices by a 6–3 margin rejected plaintiffs challenge over premium tax credits.
Despite numerous attempts by the GOP to scuttle the law, the Texas ruling is unlikely to cause the demise of the law. In contrast, it is sure to set up a potential legal battle which could wind up back at the Supreme Court.
Although the ruling declares the law unconstitutional, the ACA will remain in effect while it undergoes the myriad of expected appeals. Enrollment for 2019, which ended Saturday, is expected to be down by approximately 800,000 compared to 2018.
[Axios] [Politico] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via Express]