Federal judge in Texas strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional

By | December 16, 2018
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The HealthCare.gov 2019 web site home page as seen in Oct. 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A federal judge in Texas has issued a ruling declaring that Obamacare is unconstitutional, creating an not only uncertainty about health care coverage for millions of Americans, but also a likely battle in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on what’s known as the Affordable Care Act came a day before the deadline to sign up for health care coverage in 2019 is the latest in a battle between Democrats trying to keep the law in place and Republicans seeking to get rid of it.

The ruling comes after a lawsuit contesting the ACA set forth by former President Barack Obama by 19 Republican attorneys general and a governor shepherded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. In his 55-page opinion, the judge said the debate over Obamacare’s provisions “is like watching a slow game of Jenga, each party poking at a different provision to see if the ACA fails.”

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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders praised the judge’s decision and said the ruling will be put on hold as she expects an appeals process to likely make it’s way up to the Supreme Court.

“The judge’s decision vindicates President Trump’s position that Obamacare is unconstitutional. 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,” she said.

Meanwhile, Trump tweeted Friday, “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. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!”

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The “Nancy” mentioned in Trump’s tweet was California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to be speaker of the House of Representatives when the Democrats become the majority next month.

In response, Pelosi tweeted late Friday that “Tonight’s absurd ruling exposes the monstrous endgame of the GOP’s all-out assault on people w/ pre-existing conditions & the ACA. When @HouseDemocrats take the gavel, the House will swiftly intervene in the appeals process to #ProtectOurCare!”

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