Federal judge declares Obama health care overhaul unconstitutional

Obamacare

A federal judge in the U.S. state of Texas has ruled that a key part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional.

"The court recognized that the individual mandate penalty is unconstitutional, found that the entirety of the act could not be separated from the individual mandate penalty, and as a result, entered a judgment that the entirety of the affordable care act is invalid", Henneke said in an interview with the Star-Telegram on Friday.

"The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole", O'Connor wrote.

Judge Reed C. O'Connor struck down the law, siding with a group of 18 Republican state attorneys general and two GOP governors who brought the case.

That tax measure eliminated the penalty for not having insurance.

The Republican coalition is arguing that the change rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional.

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The ruling is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court and the law will remain in effect until the appeals process is over.

In a second tweet, the president declared the ruling to be "great news for America!".

He also noted that all nine Supreme Court justices who weighed in on the law said the individual mandate and the pre-existing conditions coverage protections, guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions could not be severed. An earlier Supreme Court decision upheld the ACA based on the view that the penalty was a tax and thus the law was valid because it relied on appropriate power allowed Congress under the Constitution.

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.

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.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise boasted his chamber passed a law to replace Obamacare in May 2017, however, leaving the situation in chaos. "Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law".

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The consumer protections targeted by the administration are central to Obamacare and transformed the health insurance landscape.

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

- The prohibition on insurers charging higher premiums to people with health problems. And the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage meant that insurers can not refuse to pay for treatments because of a policyholder's medical background.

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It's no wonder that politicians on both sides of the aisle promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions during the election.

"Today's decision is an unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections and other policies that have extended health insurance coverage to millions of Americans", said AMA president Barbara L. McAneny, M.D.

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