Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional; Trump Responds

Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional; Trump Responds

Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional; Trump Responds

The White House applauded O'Connor's ruling, but said the law remains in place while appeals proceed.

A year ago, Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that included a provision eliminating the individual mandate.

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.

In Wisconsin, an incoming Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul, campaigned on a promise to withdraw the state from the lawsuit, but Wisconsin's Republican legislature and outgoing Gov. Scott Walker, R, have tried in a lameduck session to block his ability to do that.

Judge Reed O'Connor agreed with them, declaring the mandate and Obamacare "inseverable and therefore invalid". In the House, Democrats who will take control of the chamber in January hope to pass a package to strengthen pre-existing conditions protections and are likely to vote to become a party to the case early next year.

Becerra called Friday's ruling "an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA's consumer protections for healthcare, on America's faithful progress toward affordable healthcare for all Americans". 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 Trump administration refused to defend the law, but only asked Judge O'Connor to toss the individual mandate.

In oral arguments in September, a lawyer for California said that the harm from striking down the law would be "devastating" and that more than 20 million Americans were able to gain health insurance under it.

In a second tweet, the president declared the ruling to be "great news for America!".

A spokesperson for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said defendant states will appeal the decision. The judgment could affect insurance coverage for millions of Americans, just before the end of a six-week open enrollment period for the program in 2019.

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. "Today's misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans". And the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage meant that insurers can not refuse to pay for treatments because of a policyholder's medical background.

The Trump administration weighed in, saying the government would no longer defend some core components of the ACA, but that others could remain, including Medicaid expansion, subsidies for private insurance and health insurance markets.

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