A federal judge in Texas has issued a ruling striking down the entirety of Obamacare, although whether the decision to strike down the pro-abortion government insurance program will last permanently is another question.
Several Republican state attorneys general argued in their lawsuit that the repeal of the tax penalty gutted the argument for Obamacare itself. According to news reports, the Trump administration tried to argue that the individual mandate alone should be struck down, but keep the rest of the law intact. That included Medicaid expansion, the employer mandates, the exchanges, and premium subsides for hospitals. But the judge ruled the mandate and the rest of the law couldn’t be separated.
But the ruling may not stand. As one conservative analyst writes:
Don’t fall in love with this ruling, as I’m seeing that it a) probably won’t survive an appeal, which is going to happen; and b) it’s not an injunction. In short, law Twitter is saying that the judge’s ruling merely treats the “motion for a preliminary injunction as a request for summary judgment.”
Here’s more on the ruling:
The ruling is certain to be appealed, and legal experts in both parties have said they ultimately expect the challenge to the health law will not succeed. ObamaCare will remain in effect while the case is appealed.
President Trump took to Twitter on Friday night to tout the judge’s ruling while calling on congressional leaders to work on a new law, despite the chances of Congress passing a replacement law that both parties can agree being essentially zero.
“Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!” Trump tweeted, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and expected incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
O’Connor, an appointee of President George W. Bush, acknowledged in his ruling that health care is a “politically charged affair — inflaming emotions and testing civility.”
But he added courts “are not tasked with, nor are they suited to, policymaking.” Instead, he said they must determine what the Constitution requires. In this, case O’Connor said the Constitution does not allow the mandate to stand.
The reasoning of the ruling states that in 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the mandate to have coverage because of Congress’s power to tax. But, last year, Congress removed the fine for failing to comply with the mandate, which, he argues, means the mandate is no longer a tax and therefore is unconstitutional.
In a controversial move, the judge added that because the mandate is “essential” to the rest of the law, without the mandate, the entire law is invalid.
The 2019 enrollment period started on November 1 and runs through December 15 in most states.