- U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional
- Texas led a collision of 20 states in the suit Texas v. United States
- 14 Democratic states led a counter suit to defend the ACA
- Judge O’Connor defended his decision by citing the removal of the individual mandate
In the largest blow to the Affordable Care Act to date, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled the highlight of the Obama Presidency unconstitutional. This comes after 20 Republican states, led by Texas, sued the federal government claiming they were negatively affected by the expansion of Medicare under ObamaCare. This comes despite efforts from 14 Democratic states supporting the bills.
In the 2017 Tax Reform bill, Congress repealed the individual mandate requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a fine. According to Bloomberg, Judge O’Conner based his decision on the removal of the mandate. The 2012 Supreme Court decision upholding the ACA did so only because of the individual mandate for health insurance. Without it, there is no constitutional support for the bill.
“The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole,” O’Connor says in his opinion. The ACA is built around the inclusion of the mandate meaning its removal takes out the very foundation of this far reaching legislation. The original 2012 ruling relied on utilizing Congress’s tax powers, but without the mandate acting as an extension of taxation the future of the landmark piece of legislation was left unknown until now.
Most legal analysts, and political commentators, including those at Chezner Media agree this case will certainly be appealed to the 5th Circuit Court, and later to the Supreme Court. Until then, this result will likely be left in limbo.
Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, calls the legal reasoning “faulty” and criticizes republican efforts to enact policy change through the courts rather than congress. These statements contradict general democratic efforts to use the courts to overturn immigration reforms.
President Donald Trump, among other republicans, praise the overturning of the ACA. Healthcare reform had been one of the many promises he made on the campaign trail, but was abandoned after Congress was unable to repeal or replace the current system. Common concern among ACA defendants is the protection of those with pre-existing conditions, who were charged higher premiums for being higher risk. However, President Trump shows he is willing to protect those with pre-existing conditions in the new healthcare bill he tasked to “Mitch and Nancy” in this tweet.
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