By: Brian Evans
In 2017, Congress nullified the tax penalty that was imposed on Americans who failed to purchase health insurance. As a result of the appeal, the mandate was declared unconstitutional, since it was no longer labeled a tax. Consequently, it opened Obamacare up to court challenges.
Then, in 2018, twenty Republican state attorneys general brought the suit against Obamacare in Texas v. Azar. They asked the court to rule that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the Constitution after Republicans managed to zero out Obamacare’s unconstitutional individual mandate penalty with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year.
Obamacare was struck down by a Texas federal judge in a ruling that casts uncertainty on insurance coverage for millions of U.S. residents.
The decision Friday finding the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional comes just before the end of a six-week open enrollment period for the program in 2019 and underscores a divide between Republicans who have long sought to invalidate the law and Democrats who fought to keep it in place.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that he had to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act, the signature health-care overhaul by President Barack Obama, after Congress last year zeroed out a key provision — the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance. The decision is almost certain to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
Texas and an alliance of 19 states argued to the judge that they’ve been harmed by an increase in the number of people on state-supported insurance rolls. They claimed that when Congress repealed the tax penalty last year, it eliminated the U.S. Supreme Court’s rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012.
The Texas judge agreed.
“The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole,” O’Connor wrote.
President Trump responded to the news by posting…
Now, as a result of Judge O’Connor ruling that Obamacare violated the Constitution, pushing the ruling towards the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. To date, it is uncertain when that will happen, but it will likely be in the first half of 2019.