Unconstitutional: Federal Judge Strikes Down Obamacare

Henrietta Brewer
December 15, 2018

The case, which was rendered in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas, saw a Texas-led coalition of 19 states argue that the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) was unconstitutional following the passage of tax legislation past year.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, a George W. Bush appointee, sided with a group of Republican Attorneys General and other GOP officials from 20 states, led by Texas, that without the individual mandate, the law itself is unconstitutional.

Paxton says President Donald Trump's tax plan a year ago made the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional because it did away with the tax penalty levied on those who didn't have insurance.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Republicans have opposed the 2010 law, the signature domestic policy achievement of President Donald Trump's Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, since its inception and have repeatedly tried and failed to repeal it.


Twenty Republican-led states, including Kansas, brought the lawsuit.

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.

California and other states ruled against by the judge will challenge the decision by appealing in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The case is expected to be appealed and eventually reach the Supreme Court.

'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, ' White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.


"The court recognized that the individual mandate penalty is unconstitutional, found that the entirety of the act could not be separated from the individual mandate penalty, and as a result, entered a judgment that the entirety of the affordable care act is invalid", Henneke said in an interview with the Star-Telegram on Friday.

O'Connor's ruling comes one day ahead of when Obamacare's marketplaces will close for most of the country's open enrollment period.

Legal expert Timothy Jost, a supporter of the health law, said O'Connor's ruling would have repercussions for almost all Americans if it stands.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters in November that the administration had contingency plans in place for a ruling if the law was overturned, but declined to elaborate on them.

The district court ruling does not necessarily mean the law is officially null, however.


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