Post written by Joshua Caldwell
The Affordable Care Act could be headed back the Supreme Court for the third time after a federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that the law is unconstitutional.
Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued the opinion in a lawsuit brought in February by Republican officials in 20 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Those officials contended that the entire law should be stricken because Congress earlier this year repealed the fines known as “shared responsibility payments” that people without health coverage had to pay under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. O’Connor agreed. If the ruling stands, the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations would disappear and, along with them, the health coverage for millions of people who gained private insurance or Medicaid coverage under the 2010 law signed by President Barack Obama. Specifically, the law’s guarantee of coverage for people regardless of their pre-existing conditions, financial assistance for private insurance, rules establishing a basic minimum set of benefits insurance policies must cover and more would vanish.
In short, this ruling would deal severe damage to the American health care system. It also would eradicate one of Obama’s most significant accomplishments. According to an analysis by the Urban Institute, eliminating the Affordable Care Act would increase the national uninsured rate by 50 percent and lead to more than 17 million people losing health coverage.
President Donald Trump celebrated the ruling in a pair of Twitter posts Friday night. “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions,” he wrote in one post. In another Trump wrote, “Great news for America!”
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