Judge's ruling on 'Obamacare' poses new problems for GOP

ACA site

Presumably, Schumer will resurface a bill from earlier in the summer, which, if passed, would allow Senate Democrats to file their own motions in the ongoing federal litigation over ACA, "instructing" the court in how certain Democrats viewed the litigation when they were voting on it back during the Obama Administration - but it's a long shot. If the entire health law is invalidated, popular provisions that benefit Medicare beneficiaries and people with employer coverage would also be scrapped.

This Oct. 23, 2018 file photo shows the HealthCare.gov website on a computer screen in NY. They claimed that when Congress previous year repealed the tax penalty for the so-called individual mandate, it eliminated the U.S. Supreme Court's rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012. The original mandate was upheld in previous court rulings as a tax.

Federal District Judge Reed O'Connor again thrust the Affordable Care Act into uncertainty with his ruling Friday that eliminating the tax penalty for not having insurance renders the entire law unconstitutional.

Congress had reduced the tax penalty to zero in tax changes last December.

Now, this could be a serious problem for people who buy their health insurance from state exchanges as well as those on Medicare and Medicaid.

"The Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause - meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional", O'Connor wrote. The individual mandate is unconstitutional, but the other provisions are just expensive and bad policies.

He added, "Not only does tonight's ruling confirm that this broken law can not hold up under court scrutiny, but it also affirms that the law does not actually protect people with preexisting conditions". The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has already upheld the Affordable Care Act's legality. "This decision denies coverage to more than 100 million Americans, including seniors, veterans, children, people with disabilities, hardworking Americans with low incomes, young adults on their parents' plans under age 26, and millions of Americans with preexisting conditions".

The 16 Democratic state attorneys general who intervened in the case to defend the health law immediately vowed to appeal. Ultimately the case is expected to land at the US Supreme Court within the next couple of years.

United Kingdom court orders extradition of former Kingfisher boss Vijay Mallya
He remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by the Scotland Yard past year on fraud and money laundering charges. The interior minister's decision can also be appealed to the High Court and ultimately the Supreme Court.

The administration has slashed marketing efforts and enrollment assistance and encouraged people to buy skimpier, less expensive plans that do not meet the standards of the law.

The clincher. Chief Justice John Roberts' ruling in favor of the ACA six years ago surprised observers, not least conservatives who were expecting him to strike it down. Donald Trump made abolishing and replacing the program a central pledge of his presidential campaign.

Judge O'Connor's sweeping ruling finds that since the "individual mandate "is essential to" and inseverable from "the other provisions of the ACA"... the remaining provisions of the ACA..."

The Healthcare.gov website is seen on a laptop computer on May 18, 2017 in Washington, D.C. If upheld on appeal, the decision could deprive an estimated 17 million Americans of their health insurance - including millions who gained coverage through the law's expansion of Medicaid.

Thus, everyone involved in the lawsuit and everyone affected by Obamacare will be paying attention to what happens in the courts.

One could argue that it was the original law that "upend [ed]" the health insurance industry, and that a return to status quo ante would be the logical step of undoing the upending. "In that world, a Republican judge cuts tens of millions of people off health insurance mere weeks after Republicans lost a midterm election for merely trying to cut those people off health insurance", he continued.

"Texas just really messed with us", Jefferies health-strategist Jared Holz said in a note.

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