Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional, Trump praises decision
- Author: Santos West Dec 18, 2018,
Dec 18, 2018, 0:42
Polls consistently show strong public support for the ACA guarantee of coverage regardless of pre-existing health conditions - an issue Democrats used with great success in last month's midterm elections as they won control of the House of Representatives.
Robert Henneke, who represented Neill Hurley and John Nantz, two successful consumer-plaintiffs in the lawsuit, gave an exclusive interview to The Epoch Times.
The ACA may be at top of mind for many of your employees right now, especially because this past Saturday was the deadline for individuals in most states to enroll in the law's insurance exchange program. "It is a proper role for the states". It came a day before open enrollment was to end for coverage under the health law for the coming year. Republicans who tried to undermine those safeguards during their failed effort to repeal the health law past year were forced on the defensive and went on record saying they, too, want to make sure people with health problems can get coverage.
The White House praised the court's ruling that the entire ACA, known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional due to a change in federal tax law. "This could all be an excellent buying opportunity depending on magnitude of moves and the next steps around another court entering a stay", he wrote. A court injunction of some kind to temporarily forestall the administrative dismantling of the Affordable Care Act pending those appeals seems likely.
Most legal experts, including conservatives who oppose the mandate, believe the portion of O'Connor's ruling striking down the entire law will be reversed. It has "no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan", Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said on Twitter.
What's Next for Patients Covered Under the Affordable Care Act?
The ACA, introduced by former US President Barack Obama in 2010 to provide affordable healthcare to all Americans, mandates that all individuals have health insurance or pay a tax. In addition to upholding the law in 2012, the court rejected another challenge to the law in 2015.
In Friday's decision, O'Connor said that because Congress lowered the penalty to zero past year, the mandate no longer came with a "tax" and is unconstitutional. "Once the heart of the ACA - the individual mandate - is declared unconstitutional", the lawsuit contended, "the remainder of the ACA must also fall".
For their part, in the wake of the December 14 ruling, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have promoted the illusion that they will seek to defend protections for those with preexisting conditions. The states that launched this case said the coverage mandate became unconstitutional when the penalty for not having coverage was reduced to zero dollars, and that the rest of the Affordable Care Act could not be separated from the mandate, the Times reported. "More uncompensated care with more uninsured; completely upending Medicare payment systems changed by the ACA; repeal of tax increases that funded the ACA; No more employer mandate".
The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that the individual mandate was a valid exercise of Congress' taxation powers, with the law imposing a monetary penalty on people who did not obtain insurance.
As a result of the ruling, the outlook for American health care is bright, Henneke said.
"So all of that should start now and all of that can be happening now while litigation proceeds".
"As always, the Trump administration stands ready to work with Congress on policy solutions that will deliver more insurance choices, better healthcare, and lower costs while continued to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions".
However, incoming Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the ruling as "cruel" and "absurd" and said it would be repealed.
A few minutes later, he added: "Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas".