US federal judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional

RIP Obamacare? Federal judge strikes down Affordable Care Act as ‘unconstitutional

In a ruling, that is likely to be challenged and was immediately opposed by the Democrats, District Court Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that the individual mandate of Affordable Care Act requiring people to have health insurance "can no longer be sustained as an exercise of Congress's tax power".

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh launched a counterattack September 13 to save Obamacare, seeking a judgment that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and a court order barring the USA from taking any action inconsistent with that conclusion.

Trump lost no time in tweeting his delight at the court's ruling on a complaint brought by several Republican attorneys general and two Republican governors.

"The lawsuit had to do with whether when Congress a year ago repealed or eliminated the penalty for not having insurance - it was a tax penalty for people who didn't have insurance - whether that meant the rest of the law didn't apply anymore".

The five justices who upheld the health law in 2012 in the first major case - Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's four liberals - are all still serving. These include banning insurers from denying people policies or charging them more based on their medical histories, as well as limiting coverage of the treatment they need.

The Supreme Court originally upheld ObamaCare on the principle that the mandate was somehow a tax.

Since the suit was filed in January, many health-law specialists have viewed its logic as weak but nevertheless have regarded the case as the greatest looming legal threat to the 2010 law, which has been a GOP whipping post ever since and assailed repeatedly in the courts. Although Congress does not have the ability to require people to buy health insurance, or a vehicle, or a house, that particular provision was considered part of lawmakers' taxing authority.

One America's Kara McKinney has more on the recent ruling. Pelosi called the ruling "absurd" and said it would be appealed.

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"Once again, the president calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with pre-existing conditions and provide Americans with quality affordable health care".

"As the individual mandate was an essential element of the ACA, the whole of Obamacare was therefore unconstitutional", O'Connor said.

"Once the heart of the ACA - the individual mandate - is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA must also fall", the lawsuit said.

In October, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar - who supported the lawsuit - spoke to ABC News about the administration's "plan B" to protect people with pre-existing conditions if the courts shut down Obamacare.

Because the administration would not defend the law, California, joined by 16 other Democratic states, stepped in.

The Texas ruling "is an assault on 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions" and on all who rely on Obamacare coverage, Becerra said in a statement.

"Today's decision by a district court judge - backed by President Trump - is politics at its worst and threatens access to care for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions", Durbin said.

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