Judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional
A U.S. District Court judge in Texas has ruled Obamacare is unconstitutional:
A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional now that Congress has eliminated a penalty for those who forgo health insurance, casting doubt on the embattled health law and coverage for millions of Americans.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, an appointee of President George W. Bush, ruled that the entire Obama-era health law is invalid, siding with the claims of 20 Republican states that brought a lawsuit seeking to strike down the ACA.
Republicans eliminated the ACA’s penalty for not having coverage last year, although the measure doesn’t go into effect until 2019. Mandatory health coverage was a linchpin of the original law, intending to draw healthier people into the insurance pool to help offset the costs of sicker enrollees. The Supreme Court has upheld the ACA as constitutional based on Congress’s taxing power.
The president was very pleased with the ruling, taking to Twitter to write:
“Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!” President Trump wrote on Twitter. In a statement, the White House elaborated, saying, “Once again, the President calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with preexisting conditions and provide Americans with quality affordable healthcare.”
And Democrats were beside themselves:
Friday’s decision rattled top Democratic politicians, medical groups and health-industry leaders. Some advocacy groups called on Congress to immediately pass legislation protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and the American Medical Association vowed to work with other organizations in seeking an appeal.
“This is a five alarm fire—Republicans just blew up our health care system,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said in a statement. “The anti-health care zealots in the Republican Party are intentionally ripping health care away from the working poor, increasing costs on seniors, and making insurance harder to afford for people with preexisting conditions.”
Slow down there, Senator. Judge O'Connor's ruling does not mean Obamacare is now down, over, and done with. What it does mean is there's a lot more legal wrangling ahead:
Democratic states that had intervened in the lawsuit said they would quickly seek an appeal to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ultimately, the case could reach the Supreme Court. The decision Friday thrust the future of the 2010 law on unstable terrain just before the busiest final days for sign-ups during the ACA’s open-enrollment period.
In other words, expect a great deal of huffing and puffing from Democrats and their cronies who got rich(er) through Obamacare. In the meantime, think of it as an early Christmas gift for those who fought so long against the expansive and expensive health insurance law. And also consider this ruling an example of just how important it is to have conservative judges on the federal bench.