Judge strikes down ACA as unconstitutional

BREAKING NOW: Federal Judge Rules 'ENTIRE' Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional

US Federal Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional in whole on Friday night, likely setting up a final decision on the law's fate at the Supreme Court.

Judge Reed O'Connor, a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas appointed by former President George W. Bush, ruled that Obamacare violated the Constitution.

Two Republicans - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his Wisconsin counterpart Brad Schimel led the legal challenge.

Lawyers for the Department of Justice had suggested that O'Connor should not rule until after the open enrollment period for the 2019 plan year ends on December 15 in order to avoid disrupting the markets.

"There is nothing more American than ensuring that every citizen has access to the lifesaving and necessary health care they need". They trace their argument to the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling in which Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority that the penalty the law created for Americans who do not carry health insurance is constitutional because Congress "does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance". "The judge's decision vindicates President Trump's position that Obamacare is unconstitutional". Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions.

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He also noted that all nine Supreme Court justices who weighed in on the law said the individual mandate and the pre-existing conditions coverage protections, guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions could not be severed.

"Congress stated many times unequivocally - through enacted text signed by the President - that the Individual Mandate is "essential" to the ACA", O'Connor wrote in the decision, using the initials of the law's formal title, the Affordable Care Act.

"Once the heart of the ACA - the individual mandate - is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA must also fall", states the lawsuit, the Post notes.

Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal.

About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote.

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Cohen's father, Maurice Cohen, who showed little emotion during the hearing, later told reporters: "My heart is ripped". Cohen pledges to help in further investigations that is not something the court can consider now", the judge added.

US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said: "If this very bad ruling is upheld in the higher courts, itwill be a disaster for tens of millions of American families".

The Trump administration weighed in, saying the government would no longer defend some core components of the ACA, but that others could remain, including Medicaid expansion, subsidies for private insurance and health insurance markets.

Judge O'Connor's decision tonight effectively argues the opposite.

A federal judge in Texas has ruled the Affordable Care Act "invalid" on the eve of the sign-up deadline for coverage next year.

But the administration maintained those parts of the law were severable and the rest of the Affordable Care Act could remain in place.

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