Obamacare ruled unconstitutional by US federal judge in Texas

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A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A big one, of course, is that Congress a year ago repealed what's called the mandate penalty, so if you don't have health insurance, you will no longer have to pay a tax penalty for not having it, although a lot of people actually don't even know that. The mandate was ruled a tax by the U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling many believed at the time sealed ObamaCare as permanent.

The case against the ACA, also known as Obamacare, brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, as well as two individuals.

The decision throws the fate of the Affordable Care Act into question just one day before open enrollment for 2019 closes.

The attorney for the suit, Robert Henneke, said the Affordable Care Act is no longer legal because Congress deleted the individual mandate in the GOP's tax bill previous year.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the law would remain in place for the time being, pending further legal developments. "The judge's decision vindicates President Trump's position that Obamacare is unconstitutional".

The Republican led House and Senate, under President Donald Trump, outlawed the individual mandate in the tax cut law past year.

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A federal Fort Worth judge filed a decision in a national Obamacare ruling on Friday, casting doubt on coverage for millions of Americans.

"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.

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.

As part of a tax overhaul a year ago, congressional Republicans pushed through a change in which that ACA penalty will be eliminated, starting in January. Three-quarters of Americans say that it is "very important" for the law to continue prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage because of medical histories, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's September tracking poll - 58% of Republicans feel the same way. "It will destabilize health insurance coverage by rolling back federal policy to 2009".

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.

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 with the aim of providing "near-universal" health insurance coverage and to "lower health insurance premiums", said the background to O'Connor's decision. President Trump tweeted. "Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions".