If you just saw fireworks, don’t be alarmed.
That was a Federal Judge striking down Obamacare as unconstitutional.
In a stunning ruling, the Judge just took a sledgehammer to Obama’s crowning achievement, and may have just handed President Trump (not to mention all Americans) a huge victory!
Obamacare was struck down by a Texas federal judge in a ruling that casts uncertainty on insurance coverage for millions of U.S. residents.
The decision Friday finding the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional comes at the tail end of a six-week open enrollment period for the program in 2019 and underscores a divide between Republicans who have long sought to invalidate the law and Democrats who fought to keep it in place.
The White House said the ruling will be put on hold during an appeals process that’s destined to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that he had to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act, the signature health-care overhaul by President Barack Obama, after Congress last year zeroed out a key provision -- the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance.
“Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA’s consumer protections for health care, and on America’s faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement, leading a chorus of Democrats who blasted the decision. A spokeswoman for Becerra vowed a quick challenge to O’Connor’s ruling.
Texas and an alliance of 19 states argued to the judge that they’ve been harmed by an increase in the number of people on state-supported insurance rolls. They claimed that when Congress last year repealed the tax penalty for the so-called individual mandate, it eliminated the U.S. Supreme Court’s rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012.
The Texas judge agreed. He likened the debate over which provisions of the law should stand or fail to “watching a slow game of Jenga, each party poking at a different provision to see if the ACA falls.” He also wrote that it’s clear the individual mandate is the linchpin of the law “without marching through every nook and cranny of the ACA’s 900-plus pages.”
“The court must find the individual mandate inseverable from the ACA,” he said. “To find otherwise would be to introduce an entirely new regulatory scheme never intended by Congress or signed by the president.”
President Donald Trump and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the ruling, while the American Medical Association called the decision “an unfortunate step backward for our health system.”
Some health-care law experts were quick to critique the judge’s reasoning and predicted the ruling will be overturned.
“We know what Congress’ intent was in 2017 -- that was to pull the individual mandate while keeping the rest of ACA intact,” University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley said. “Now we have a judge saying we have an unenforceable mandate. This whole thing is bonkers.”
With just one day left in the sign-up period for 2019 Obamacare coverage, the judge’s ruling is unlikely to have much of an effect on those actively shopping for insurance for next year. As of Dec. 8, 4.1 million people had chosen plans through the federal-government run portal that 39 states use for enrollment.
Total enrollment is on track to be lower than in previous years, which many critics have credited to efforts by the Trump administration to promote alternatives to the law or cut back on its promotion.
From Fox News:
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was struck down by a Texas judge on Friday, a move that could suddenly disrupt the health insurance status of millions of Americans. The decision comes amid a six-week open enrollment period for the program.
Texas, along with 19 states, had argued to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor that they had been hurt by a jump in the amount of people utilizing state-backed insurance. When Congress cut the tax penalty from the program in 2017, the states claimed, it essentially undercut the Supreme Court’s reasoning for finding former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation constitutional in 2012.
“The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole,” O’Connor wrote, according to Bloomberg. O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies.
"As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster," President Trump tweeted following the ruling. "Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!"
In a second tweet, the president declared the ruling to be "great news for America!"
California and other states ruled against by the judge will challenge the decision by appealing in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
“Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the A.C.A.’s consumer protections for health care, on America’s faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans,” Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “The A.C.A. has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court.”
“Obamacare has been struck down by a highly respected judge," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.