Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Federal Judge Rules Obamacare is Unconstitutional

Attorney General Curtis Hill signed Indiana onto the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate Attorney General Curtis Hill signed Indiana onto the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate
Anna Jefferson | 21 December, 2018, 06:43

A federal judge in Texas Friday struck down the entire Affordable Care Act, popular as Obamacare, ruling that the health-care law's individual coverage mandate was "unconstitutional", handing a major political victory to US President Donald Trump who has always been seeking its end.

While Friday's decision by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas was sweeping, it has little immediate practical impact because the Affordable Care Act remains in place while the legal battle continues, possibly to the Supreme Court.

"It has to be appealed for sure, but in the meantime the Republicans will once again face the question do you believe we should have health insurance accessible, affordable, and cover those with pre-existing conditions", Durbin said, pointing to what was cast as in November's midterm elections. As of early Monday, his Facebook post has received more than 28,000 reactions, and has been liked more than 72,000 times since he also shared it on Twitter.

After repeatedly trying and failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Congress, Trump and his Republican allies have turned to right-wing activist judges to try to overturn this vital law, alleged Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.

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. "Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place".

One thing that may happen now, perhaps as soon as this week, is that some or all of the 16 states (and Washington, D.C.) that entered the case to defend Obamacare's constitutionality will attempt to get Judge O'Connor's decision formally postponed while they appeal. While Democrats may have won the House by running a fear-mongering campaign, unfortunately their reckless legislating has not proven to be as effective for the American people who have to live under this failed system.

The lawsuit was initiated by Texas's attorney general Ken Paxton, who describes himself as a tea party conservative, with support from 18 GOP counterparts and a governor. Numerous high-ranking Republican lawmakers have said they did not intend to also strike down provisions such as protection for people with medical conditions when they repealed the law's fines for people who can afford coverage but remain uninsured.

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The White House said it expects the case to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

But Obama's successor took a less measured approach to the ruling.

Trump tweeted that "Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!" and said it was not up to Congress to "pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions".

Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said Sunday that he is going to renew an effort to force a vote on getting the chamber to go to court in defense of the health care law.

One legal expert, who supports the ACA, has warned that O'Connor's ruling would have repercussions for almost all Americans if it stands. In his ruling he wrote, "Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause-meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional". A coalition of states governed by Democrats and led by California had a different interpretation - that the individual mandate isn't unconstitutional if people aren't actually being forced to pay penalties.

The Post's Colby Itkowitz explained that the timing of the ruling comes as public opinion on the ACA has shifted toward the Democrats. Ahead of the midterms, almost 60 percent of likely voters said they wanted to keep the ACA, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll in late October. "Politically, I don't think that it helps us at all". "She did nothing to deserve this awful illness and because of you she now cannot be denied health coverage", she wrote. In the prior year, the total enrolled was 12.2 million. Schumer wants a congressional intervention on behalf of Obamacare.

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