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Tipsheet

Unconstitutional: Federal Judge Strikes Down Obamacare

We have breaking news coming from Texas. A federal judge has struck down the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). A group of Republican state attorneys general argued in their lawsuit that the repeal of the tax penalty gutted the argument for ACA legality. Bloomberg has more, with the publication adding that the DOJ tried to argue that the individual mandate, including provisions to keep the premium rates the same among healthy individuals and those with pre-existing conditions, 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. 

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The judge ruled that the mandate and the rest of the law couldn’t be separated. 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.”

Obamacare was struck down by a Texas federal judge in a ruling that casts uncertainty on insurance coverage for millions of U.S. residents.

[…]

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.

“Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA’s consumer protections for health care, and on America’s faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. A spokeswoman for Becerra said an appeal will be filed before Jan. 1.

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 They claimed that when Congress repealed the tax penalty last year, it eliminated the U.S. Supreme Court’s rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012.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.

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