December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal judge in Texas has struck down the whole of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” as unconstitutional.
The ruling, which was issued Friday by Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, holds that the federal mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance is unconstitutional, and that as a consequence, the whole of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legally invalid.
For now, according to the White House, the law will remain “in place” in expectation of appeals of the ruling.
The ruling came as the result of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by Republican governors and state attorneys general, which argued that the ACA’s mandate requiring the purchase of health care coverage had been rendered unconstitutional by the 2017 tax overhaul, which set the tax penalty for those who do not purchase such insurance to zero. The state officials contended that the elimination of the penalty nullified the effects of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling allowing the mandate and penalty.
The 2012 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, held that the government cannot order people to purchase health care, but it can impose a tax on those who don’t, and interpreted the mandate and penalty as the equivalent of a tax. With the elimination of the penalty in Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul, the mandate has now been ruled to be a simple order requiring people to purchase health care, and thus unconstitutional.
Trump hails ruling: Obamacare was an ‘unconstitutional disaster’
President Donald Trump, whose administration had declined to defend the ACA’s mandate in the lawsuit, received the news of the Friday verdict gladly, and reiterated his commitment to implementing a new plan that would protect pre-existing conditions.
“As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!” he tweeted. “Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!”
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the ruling and promised that the House of Representatives would participate in appeals after control of the legislative body passed to the Democrats in 2019.
“When House Democrats take the gavel, the House of Representatives will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans’ effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act,” said Pelosi in a statement issued to the press.
New opportunities to remove pro-abortion provisions from Obamacare
The ruling, if upheld on appeal, may give President Trump and pro-life representatives in Congress the opportunity to further reduce or eliminate the ACA’s subsidies for abortion.
The Trump administration has already acted to eliminate such subsidies in multiple ways. In April, the administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a rule allowing people to avoid the fine for not purchasing health insurance if they cannot afford any available plan that does not cover abortion.
Also in November, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made a proposal to create a separate billing system for coverage of abortion and require insurance companies to charge a separate premium to cover abortions. Such a system would allow those who are pro-life to opt out of abortion coverage in individual plans and refuse to subsidize the abortions of others insured by the same plan.
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