- Democratic lawmakers hit back against a federal judge’s ruling in favour of 19 states that argued that several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” are unconstitutional.
- Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer condemned the “awful” ruling and vowed congressional action as soon as possible for an “intervention” in the case.
- The decision, announced Friday, prompted immediate outcry from Democrats, many of whom suggested this will renew pressure on Republican lawmakers to pass an acceptable alternative.
US Democratic lawmakers hit back against a federal judge’s ruling in favour of 19 states that argued several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” are unconstitutional.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer condemned the “awful” ruling and vowed congressional action as soon as possible for an “intervention.”
“We’re going to fight this tooth and nail,” Schumer said on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning. “The first thing we do when we get back there in the Senate is vote to urge an intervention in the case.”
The main provision in question is that of the individual mandate, which requires that everyone must have health insurance.
Schumer continued to suggest he would be pushing for a vote on the case.
“A lot of this depends on congressional intent, so if a majority of the House and majority of the Senate say that this case should be overturned, it will have a tremendous effect on the appeal,” Schumer said. “Our first stop is the courts. We believe this should be overturned.”
Democratic whip Sen. Dick Durbin said on ABC’s “This Week” that the ruling “didn’t do the Republican Party any favour,” as it will reawaken pressures for Republican unity behind a new healthcare policy.
“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 voters’ top issue in November’s midterm elections.
Sen. Dick Durbin says a federal judge's ruling that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is unconstitutional "didn't do the Republican party any favor."
— ABC News (@ABC) December 16, 2018
Reform should be the top priority as Congress and the administration considers next steps for healthcare policy, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, adding that the decision was “absurd.”
“We should be working to improve the Affordable Care Act, not just throw it out and set it on fire,” she said.
She continued: “Right now with an administration in place that seems bound and determined to take away people’s healthcare, we have to protect the ability of people to even have their health care even exist.”
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the incoming Republican Policy Committee chairman, echoed Durbin’s forecast of the decision as potentially setting off a political firestorm, saying on “Meet the Press,” that the judge’s ruling is not as significant as the congressional process for forming and passing health care policy.
“This’ll be another area where health care will be used as a political issue, way beyond one district judge making a ruling that has no immediate impact,” Blunt said.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins expressed similar dissatisfaction with the ruling as she dismissed the decision as “far too sweeping” and she believes it “will be overturned on appeal.”
“There’s no reason why the individual mandate provision can’t be struck down and keep all the good provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” Collins said of the bill that Republicans have decried since its 2009 passing, and that she initially voted against but recently voted to save.
“He could have taken a much more surgical approach and just struck down the individual mandate and kept the rest of the law intact,” Collins also said of the judge on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I think this will be overturned on appeal,” GOP Sen. Susan Collins says of a Texas judge's decision striking down Obamacare. “There’s no reason why the individual mandate provision can’t be struck down and keep all the good provisions of the Affordable Care Act.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/t4ntAGnquJ
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) December 16, 2018
President Donald Trump praised the decision the day after its passing, telling reporters Saturday that if the decision is 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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