On Friday, the eve of the Saturday deadline for signing up for coverage through federal insurance exchanges, a federal judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act, enacted during the Obama administration, was “invalid.” US District Judge Reed O’Connor determined that the entirety of the Obamacare law was unconstitutional based on a recent change to federal tax law.
If O’Connor’s ruling stands, it could widely disrupt the healthcare system in the US, and supporters of Obamacare, according to a report by WPXI, have already announced their intention to appeal.
Xavier Becerra, the California Attorney General who has been leading a multistate coalition in defense of the Affordable Care Act, saying in a statement: “The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court. Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans.”
Becerra further referred to O’Connor’s ruling as “an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA’s consumer protections for healthcare, on America’s faithful progress toward affordable healthcare for all Americans.”
President Donald Trump was quick to express his support of the ruling. In a tweet, Trump stated, “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.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is anticipated to become the Speaker of the House in January, has already promised to fight the “absurd ruling.” She added that the House “will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans’ effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, also issued a statement, saying, “We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place.”
The lawsuit upon which O’Connor ruled was brought forth by 20 Republican-led states. O’Connor is a Republican appointee in Texas and has previously blocked other policies from the Obama era.