Health Care

Federal judge in Texas rules Obama's health care overhaul unconstitutional

Federal judge in Texas rules Obama's health care overhaul unconstitutional”

A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday evening that key components of the Affordable Care Act -better known as Obamacare- were unconstitutional; saying the "entire health-care law" violates federal law.

On Friday night, President Donald Trump celebrated a Texas judge's ruling putting Obamacare at risk by declaring it "great news". I would be quite surprised if this opinion survives the inevitable appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and even more surprised if this result garners the support of more than two justices on the Supreme Court (if the case even gets that far).

California and Democratic officials in 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, won permission to defend ACA in the Fort Worth case when the Trump administration sided with the states seeking to dismantle it.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court". California and other states had intervened to defend the 2010 health care law after the Trump administration declined to defend its provisions that guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, arguing that those provisions can not be separated from the mandate.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters in November that the administration had contingency plans in place for a ruling if the law was overturned, but declined to elaborate on them.

'The Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause - meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional, ' the judge wrote. The plaintiffs argue that the entire ACA is invalid.

About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote.

He had led an effort to intervene the challenge of the health care law.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office said the state would appeal the ruling. O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies.

The requirement that insurers must take all applicants for comprehensive coverage regardless of prior health history, including pre-existing conditions.

"We do have contingency plans", she said then.

The American Medical Association called O'Connor's ruling an "unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections".

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