Federal Judge Rules Obamacare is Unconstitutional

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A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional due to a recent change in federal tax law. A spokeswoman for Becerra said an appeal will be filed before January 1.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor is nearly guaranteed to go to the Supreme Court. Because the mandate is an essential part of the ACA in the judge's view, that led him to rule that the entire health law should be struck down.

The White House said late Friday that it expects the ruling to be appealed to the Supreme Court. "Our lawsuit seeks to effectively repeal Obamacare, which will give President Trump and Congress the opportunity to replace the failed social experiment with a plan that ensures Texans and all Americans will again have greater choice about what health coverage they need and who will be their doctor". "Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions", Trump said in a tweet.

The dismantling of Obamacare has been one of President Trump's top priorities since taking office.

The 2012 Supreme Court case was over whether such a penalty was legal - but now that it is gone, O'Connor says the whole Affordable Care Act should be stricken down because the provision is "the keystone" of the program. She said the House "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".

Legal expert Timothy Jost, a supporter of the health law, said O'Connor's ruling would have repercussions for almost all Americans if it stands. The health law was passed in 2010. That could include the section that allows parents to keep young adult children on their coverage until age 26.

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Until then, you can enroll for coverage by visiting HealthCare.gov here.

Saturday is the sign-up deadline for 2019 private plans through HealthCare.gov.

If the case were to reach the Supreme Court it would mark the third time the justices consider a challenge to fundamental provisions of the law.

The ACA has been a battle between Democrats, who favour the law, versus Republicans who have voted repeatedly to repeal it.

But despite his Republicans having majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the ACA is still operating.

Judge Reed C. O'Connor struck down the law, siding with a group of 18 Republican state attorneys general and two GOP governors who brought the case. The plaintiffs argue that the law in its entirety is invalid because the removal of the penalty tax nullifies the argument used by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 upholding the law on the premise that the ACA is ultimately a tax and thus falls under the authority of Congress, which has "the power to impose taxes", in this case "on those without health insurance". "It will destabilize health insurance coverage by rolling back federal policy to 2009".

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