- In a ruling released Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas sided with 19 states arguing that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” are unconstitutional.
- The ruling brings new uncertainty to the country’s healthcare markets, a day before the deadline to sign up for Affordable Care Act health plans in many states.
- The ruling doesn’t go into effect immediately, and is almost certain to be appealed by state attorneys general who are defending the law.
- “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!” President Trump tweeted. “Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!”
- In a separate statement, the White House said, “We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place.”
In a ruling released Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas sided with states arguing that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” are unconstitutional.
The decision is almost certain to be appealed, but creates new uncertainty for the country’s healthcare system. Per a White House statement, “We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place.”
Texas led 19 states arguing that the individual mandate – the requirement that everyone must have health insurance – is unconstitutional, after Congress gutted the key portion of the mandate, the tax penalty for not buying coverage.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in the Northern District of Texas agreed with those states and ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. 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 law includes provisions that provide subsidies that help people buy coverage, its expansion of Medicaid to millions of low income people, and its protections that let people with pre-existing conditions buy insurance.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act could lead to about 15 million people losing their health insurance coverage, according to Ana Gupte, a Wall Street analyst at Leerink Partners.
“If this Texas decision on the ACA is upheld, it would throw the individual insurance market and the whole health care system into complete chaos,” Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation said on Twitter. “But, the case still has a long legal road to travel before that’s an immediate threat.”
Fourteen states along with the District of Columbia argued in favour of the law. However, the Trump administration sided with Texas et all. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said the states will continue their defence of the law.
“We’ll continue to fight in court for New Yorkers and all Americans,” she said on Twitter.
The ACA has been a battle between Democrats, who favour the law, versus Republicans who have voted repeatedly to repeal it. The health law was passed in 2010.
President Donald Trump praised the decision, telling reporters Saturday that if the decision upheld, the administration would be working with Democratic lawmakers to secure “great, great health care for our people.”
“We’ll sit down with the Democrats, if the Supreme Court upholds, we’ll be sitting down with the Democrats and we will get great health care for our people, that’s a repeal and replace,” Trump said. “On the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we will get great, great health care for our people.”
The president added: “We’ll have to sit down with the Democrats to do it, but I’m sure they want to do it also.”
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