Federal judge strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional, Trump praises decision

Republicans Say Little About Obamacare Ruling

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said on Sunday that she is confident that a federal judge's ruling declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional will be overturned.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of 20 states that a change in tax law previous year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire Obamacare law.

In a separate Obamacare case in 2012, five of the nine Supreme Court justices upheld the law. "I rarely reach this conclusion, but only a results-driven policy agenda could begin to explain his absurd conclusion that Congress's 2017 decision to zero out the penalty for not buying the insurance mandated by the ACA while retaining the rest of the ACA somehow rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional".

O'Connor's 55-page ruling, now on hold and subject to appeal, was immediately disparaged by critics on the left and on the right and by law professors on both sides of the dispute.

"There's no reason why the individual mandate provision can't be struck down and keep all the good provisions of the Affordable Care Act", Collins told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union".

The ruling is expected to be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Centene Corp. of St. Louis and California's Molina Health Inc. are the insurers that would be hurt the most if Friday's ruling stands, Ana Gupte, health care analyst at Leerink Partners, wrote in an analysis late Friday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law". "But it is not the final word and we must do everything we can to stop this sabotage because if it succeeds, insurance companies will again be able to deny coverage or charge higher premiums for more than 2 million people in Wisconsin with a pre-existing condition".

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"Today's ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA's consumer protections for healthcare, on America's faithful progress toward affordable healthcare for all Americans", Becerra said Friday. There is not now a viable alternative to the law that can pass the House and Senate and get signed into law by President Trump. For now, it said in a statement, "the law remains in place". Democrats, however, have said they'll hold the GOP to its commitment to retain popular provisions of the law, such as guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing health conditions.

University of MI law professor Nicholas Bagley, who supports the ACA, told the Post that he does not consider the lawsuit "an imminent or mortal threat to the Affordable Care Act".

The fall in healthcare stocks pulled the broader S&P 500 managed health care index down 2.5 percent. "In our view, the demise of the ACA would become the number one issue in the 2020 presidential election", it said. But with that "tax" - or penalty - having been removed starting next year, Republicans challenging the law in this case argued the program is now illegal.

The law now requires insurers to offer affordable coverage to everyone, regardless of their medical history or any conditions they have.

Republicans have tried and failed at least 70 times to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act since it came into being in 2010.

Some health-care law experts were quick to critique the judge's reasoning and predicted the ruling will be overturned. The law's opponents lost the first two cases. Americans have been more favorable than unfavorable toward the ACA for almost two years, according to research conducted by KFF.

"Well, I actually think that judge, it was a silly ruling by the judge".

She vowed that when Democrats take control of the House next month, lawmakers "will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process" to uphold Obamacare.