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A federal judge just ruled that Obamacare is unconstitutional, threatening healthcare chaos

Sunday - 16/12/2018 12:37
Repealing the Affordable Care Act could lead to about 15 million people losing their health insurance coverage, according to Ana Gupte, a Wall Street analyst at Leerink Partners.
Park of Cambridge wears cast for her broken wrist with "I Love Obamacare" written upon it prior to U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival to speak about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston Thomson Reuters
Park of Cambridge wears cast for her broken wrist with "I Love Obamacare" written upon it prior to U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival to speak about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston Thomson Reuters
  • In a ruling released Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas sided with 19 states arguing that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" are unconstitutional. 
  • The ruling brings new uncertainty to the country's healthcare markets, a day before the deadline to sign up for Affordable Care Act health plans in many states. 
  • The ruling doesn't go into effect immediately, and is almost certain to be appealed by state attorneys general who are defending the law. 
  • "As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!" President Trump tweeted. "Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!" 
  • In a separate statement, the White House said, "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place." 

In a ruling released Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas sided with states arguing that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" are unconstitutional. 

The decision is almost certain to be appealed, but creates new uncertainty for the country's healthcare system. Per a White House statement, "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place." 

Texas led 19 states arguing that the individual mandate — the requirement that everyone must have health insurance — is unconstitutional, after Congress gutted the key portion of the mandate, the tax penalty for not buying coverage. 

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in the Northern District of Texas agreed with those states and ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. Because the mandate is an essential part of the ACA in the judge's view, that led him to rule that the entire health law should be struck down.

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