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Texas judge dismantles Obamacare, ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

15 December 2018

In a significant ruling Friday, a federal judge in Texas declared the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, to be unconstitutional in its entirety, citing a key change in the law implemented by Republicans in their big tax reform bill previous year.

Judge Reed O'Connor, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, sided with Texas and the other states, saying the law can not stand without the so-called "individual mandate" to get coverage, which Republicans effectively ended as part of a 2017 tax overhaul. We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. They claimed that when Congress repealed the tax penalty past year, it eliminated the US Supreme Court's rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012.

"Congress stated many times unequivocally - through enacted text signed by the President - that the Individual Mandate is "essential" to the ACA", O'Connor wrote in the decision, using the initials of the law's formal title, the Affordable Care Act. 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.

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Twenty Republican-led states brought the lawsuit.

Ending the act would eliminate current protections for those with pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy, arthritis and diabetes. 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.

The White House hailed Friday's ruling, but said the law would remain in place pending its expected appeal to the Supreme Court. "Today's misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans", said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading a coalition of states defending the ACA. In any case, it looks like Obamacare's future will once again depend on the courts.

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The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump told Meadows that he wouldn't get the job and needed him to remain in Congress. These people, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel matters.

On Friday, Henneke said the judge made the right decision, although the judgment will nearly certainly be appealed. If the ruling stands, the entire law will be struck down.

About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote.

Democratic leaders, meanwhile, reacted harshly to the decision.

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It's no wonder that politicians on both sides of the aisle promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions during the election. O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies. "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".

Texas judge dismantles Obamacare, ruling individual mandate unconstitutional