Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional, Trump praises decision

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Though a federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that the Affordable Care Act's individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional, there is lingering confusion over what that means for people who depend on the law for their health care. While the department disagreed that the entire law should be struck down, it decided against defending not only the coverage mandate, but also the law's protections for people with preexisting conditions, the Times reported.

Screenshot of the HealthCare.gov website.

"In light of yesterday's ACA ruling, any 2020 candidate pushing Medicare for All needs to explain how they will get it past a Court willing to toss out a law passed ten years ago by large congressional majorities", Freedlander wrote Saturday. The plaintiffs argued that because the Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012 as a constitutional use of its taxing power, the elimination of the tax makes the rest of the law unconstitutional.

If the Supreme Court were to uphold O'Connor's ruling, it would go a long way toward dismantling Obamacare.

In a case brought to the court by 18 Republican state attorneys general and two conservative governors, Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that because Congress repealed the individual mandate to buy health insurance in 2017, the ACA is now unconstitutional. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reduced the shared-responsibility payment to zero, effective January 1, 2019. He concluded it is "impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause-meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional".

"This ruling is not going to affect people who are now enrolled who're in Obamacare policies or the policies for 2019", Collins said. Democratic California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has promised to appeal the decision, and both sides expect the legal controversy to eventually find its way to the Supreme Court. If you have an Obamacare plan, it remains valid and any premium subsidy received will continue. All insurance plans are still required to provide a basic standard of benefits without lifetime caps as the law states.

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Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III introduced a resolution back in July that would authorize the legal counsel of the Senate to take part in the legal proceedings against Texas and the other states involved, including Manchin's home state of West Virginia. That process is expected to take several months. At the same time, they have voted to fund the Pentagon's $717 billion budget to pursue the U.S. military's criminal interventions across the globe. She said the waivers Abbott referenced state could be used to could pay claims for these people but warned this program could end if Obamacare is struck down. Trump campaigned against it in 2016. For now, it said in a statement, "the law remains in place".

In the meantime, the deadline for Americans seeking health insurance coverage during 2019 under Obamacare had arrived on Saturday night, and the Texas ruling did not disturb that process or interfere with the coverage that those who signed up had obtained - at least that is the assurance that federal health officials have given.

How disruptive will it be if the courts abruptly eliminate Obamacare?

"It would really plunge the nation's health care system into chaos", Rovner says. They contended that overturning the law would throw millions off health insurance rolls by reversing Medicaid expansion, ending tax credits that help people and empowering insurers to once again deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

One could argue that it was the original law that "upend [ed]" the health insurance industry, and that a return to status quo ante would be the logical step of undoing the upending. "His administration has done good work revising regulations to reduce health-care costs and increase access, but the risk is that the lawsuit will cause Republicans in Congress to panic politically and strike a deal with Democrats that reinforces Obamacare".

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