Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Health Care | By Edgar Pierce

Texas judge dismantles Obamacare, ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

Texas judge dismantles Obamacare, ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown tweeted: "This decision threatens the health coverage of 20 million people and undermines pre-existing condition protections for all Americans". Republicans who tried to undermine those safeguards during their failed effort to repeal the health law previous year were forced on the defensive and went on record saying they, too, want to make sure people with health problems can get coverage. Trump tweeted. "Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions".

With the mandate's repeal, the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 ruling that Obamacare was constitutional could no longer be considered valid.

The White House hailed Friday's ruling, but said the law would remain in place pending its expected appeal to the Supreme Court.

Congress, however, eliminated the tax penalty last December as part of President Trump's major tax overhaul.

President Trump applauded the decision on Twitter Friday night, writing that he had "predicted all along" that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

In June, the Justice Department declared the healthcare law's "individual mandate" unconstitutional in federal court.

The case is the most high-profile legal challenge to "Obamacare" under President Donald Trump.

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Analysts said the ruling might cause chaos in the final hours of Obamacare enrollment but wouldn't have an immediate effect, since the mandate penalty doesn't shrink to zero until the new year and liberal officials will move for a stay.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise boasted his chamber passed a law to replace Obamacare in May 2017, however, leaving the situation in chaos. Three-quarters of Americans say that it is "very important" for the law to continue prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage because of medical histories, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's September tracking poll - 58% of Republicans feel the same way.

In Texas alone, there are more than 4.5 million "nonelderly adults" with pre-existing conditions that could make it hard for them to get health insurance if Obamacare went away, statistics show. Currently, about 10 million have subsidized private insurance through the health law's insurance markets, while an estimated 12 million low-income people are covered through its Medicaid expansion.

O'Connor's decision could set off a scramble in Congress, where some lawmakers want to step in to defend the decision.

"The Republican Party should be ashamed and leaders in Congress must fight back against this reckless decision".

Since Judge O'Connor did not issue an injunction, the Affordable Care Act and its provisions will remain intact for the time being, meaning no one with an insurance plan via the ACA will lose coverage. And yet, Republicans have made it clear that their priority is attacking access to critically-needed health care, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and insurance for young people.

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