A U.S. federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday that the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional, a decision that was likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of 20 states that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire Obamacare law.
O’Connor’s decision was issued the day before the end of a 45-day sign-up period for 2019 health coverage under the law.
About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans, according to the U.S. government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The coalition of states challenging the law was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, both Republicans.
Republicans have opposed the 2010 law, the signature domestic policy achievement of President Donald Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, since its inception and have repeatedly tried and failed to repeal it.
The White House hailed Friday’s ruling, but said the law would remain in place pending its expected appeal to the Supreme Court.
“Once again, the president calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with preexisting conditions and provide Americans with quality affordable healthcare,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
In June, the Justice Department declared the healthcare law’s “individual mandate” unconstitutional in federal court. The decision was a break with a long-standing executive branch practice of defending existing statutes in court.
A year ago, Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that included a provision eliminating the individual mandate.
Dr. Fauci emotionally recounts his close relationship with the late AIDS activist Larry Kramer
Dr. Anthony Fauci has burst on to the national stage as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic, but his work as a public health official extends back decades. He was a key figure in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and in an interview on PBS NewsHour on Wednesday, he offered a personal and emotional glimpse into that history.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that Larry Kramer, a famed writer and influential AIDS activist, had died at age 84. PBS host Judy Woodroof noted that Fauci and Kramer had been friends.
"In the beginning of the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s, the two of you had a pretty contentious relationship," Woodroof said. "But that changed over time."
REVEALED: An Obama-era plan to protect medical workers in a pandemic was thwarted under Trump
President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that his Democratic predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, left him ill-prepared to handle a major health crisis when, in fact, Obama’s administration left behind a comprehensive pandemic game plan that included a 69-page playbook. But Trump’s administration abandoned those Obama-era recommendations. On top of that, National Public Radio’s Brian Mann is reporting that Trump’s administration, in 2017, “stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the health care industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19.”
‘Don’t be a sucker’: CNN’s Cuomo begs viewers not to let Trump’s antics distract from the horror of COVID deaths
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Chris Cuomo warned viewers not to be taken in by President Donald Trump's distraction tactics — and instead focus on the loss of human life from the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a sad night. I don't know any other way to put it," said Cuomo. "I don't even like that the music's playing, to be honest. It's just three months. We've lost a hundred thousand lives. Do you need band music to tell you it's something urgent?"
"We were told this pandemic would magically disappear without any real trouble. A couple dozen cases," said Cuomo. "Today, did you hear what our president, Donald John Trump, said to calm and reassure our nerves, that we will do everything we can to keep us safe as we reopen and that he will make it his life's focus because that what a president does? Did you hear him say that? Me either. Not a damn word from Trump as this country is just struggling to get our heads and our hearts, let alone our hands around processing such loss so quickly. Suddenly he is now at a loss. Not even a tweet."