Late last week, U.S District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled Obamacare is unconstitutional and put the future of the massive government program in question. The ruling comes after Republicans stripped out the Obamacare individual mandate last year and GOP state attorney generals filed a lawsuit against the legislation.
The case is likely to reach the US Supreme Court, where the five justices in the nine-judge court who voted to uphold Obamacare in a separate case in 2012 are still on the bench.
O'Connor's ruling said that the full Obamacare program was unconstitutional because in last year's tax overhaul, Congress eliminated a penalty for people who failed to sign up for the program if they did not already have their own health insurance.
The 2012 Supreme Court case was over whether such a penalty was legal -- but now that it is gone, O'Connor says the whole Affordable Care Act should be stricken down because the provision is "the keystone" of the program.
Essentially, without the mandate -- Obamacare cannot stand.
Architects of the program, including the guy who called Americans "stupid," aren't happy about it. Despite arguing for years the mandate was essential to the success of Obamacare, they're now backtracking in an attempt to save what's left.
"I think when the law passed we all thought the mandate was a very important part of the law. We have now basically been proven that it's important but not as important as we thought because look, we now have experience of the law without it, they removed the mandate. And we are seeing it weakens the law, it raises premiums, but the law still remains quite strong, albeit not as strong as it would have been," Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said on CNN over the weekend. "So we have seen empirically that the law -- that it is severable. The law still works without it. Congress in its wisdom has declared that it's severable, has said, look, we're going to keep the law but remove the mandate penalty. So really there is just no basis for a judge in Texas to just say despite what the body that represents the American people have said, I'm going to decide this is not severable. There's just no reason to do it."
A reminder of who Gruber is:
Meet Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT and an architect of Obamacare. During a panel event last year about how the legislation passed, turning over a sixth of the U.S. economy to the government, Gruber admitted that the Obama administration went through "tortuous" measures to keep the facts about the legislation from the American people, including covering up the redistribution of wealth from the healthy to the sick in the legislation that Obamacare is in fact a tax. The video of his comments just recently surfaced ahead of the second open enrollment period for Obamacare at Healthcare.gov.
Dr. Ezekial Emanuel, who also developed Obamacare, is calling the ruling "silly" and is confident it will be upheld for a second time at the Supreme Court.
"Well, I actually think that judge, it was a silly ruling by the judge. The fact of the matter is that there really is no basis for striking down the entire Affordable Care Act in large measure, because the mandate was toothless and it can’t be essential to the whole bill if it’s toothless," Emanuel said on CNN. "It really made no sense."
The question now is, how will House Democrats handle this?
Nancy Pelosi:— Rich Weinstein (@phillyrich1) December 16, 2018
The mandate is “central” to Obamacare. pic.twitter.com/5L9GbuKElH
President Trump is ready to go with the new Congress in January.
The DEDUCTIBLE which comes with ObamaCare is so high that it is practically not even useable! Hurts families badly. We have a chance, working with the Democrats, to deliver great HealthCare! A confirming Supreme Court Decision will lead to GREAT HealthCare results for Americans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2018
Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018
As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018
H/T Rich Weinstein