Federal judge in Texas rules Obama's health care law is unconstitutional

Federal judge in Texas rules Obama's health care law is unconstitutional

A USA federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday that the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional, a decision that was likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

A big one, of course, is that Congress a year ago repealed what's called the mandate penalty, so if you don't have health insurance, you will no longer have to pay a tax penalty for not having it, although a lot of people actually don't even know that.

"The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole", wrote O'Connor in his 55-page opinion, Bloomberg reports.

President Trump, who lambasted his own party for failing to repeal and replace the law as promised, applauded the decision.

The Republican led House and Senate, under President Donald Trump, outlawed the individual mandate in the tax cut law a year ago.

"Today's ruling enjoining Obamacare halts an unconstitutional exertion of federal power over the American health care system while our multistate coalition lawsuit works its way through the courts", Paxton said in the statement. The plaintiffs argue that the law in its entirety is invalid because the removal of the penalty tax nullifies the argument used by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 upholding the law on the premise that the ACA is ultimately a tax and thus falls under the authority of Congress, which has "the power to impose taxes", in this case "on those without health insurance".

However, Congress is unlikely to act while the case remains in the courts. California and other states had intervened to defend the 2010 health care law after the Trump administration declined to defend its provisions that guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, arguing that those provisions can not be separated from the mandate. The Supreme Court may or may not choose to hear the appeal, however.

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The law, known as Obamacare, was effectively nullified by the ruling.

Complicating things further is the fact that the Trump administration has taken the somewhat unusual step of declining to enforce the law's pre-existing conditions regulations, although the administration maintains that the rest of the law (namely the insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion) should stay in place.

The top Senate Democrat on Friday night criticized the court's decision.

All these provisions meant millions of people with less-than-perfect health records could get comprehensive coverage.

Federal Judge Reed Charles O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas struck down the law, in the course of a lawsuit brought by 19 states that involved the Constitutionality of the individual mandate.

He had led an effort to intervene the challenge of the health care law.

O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who has previously blocked other Obama-era policies.

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