A federal judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional.
US District Court Judge Reed O’Connor made the ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by 20 Republican-led states. The lawsuit argued that since Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court because the individual mandate was considered a tax, the law is now unconstitutional because Republicans eliminated the individual mandate when they passed their tax cut bill in 2017.
O’Connor ruled that since the law was upheld under Congress’ taxation power, the tax penalty’s removal meant that the entire law was unconstitutional.
The law will remain in place while it proceeds through the courts, which could take months or even years.
The ruling comes after Trump’s Justice Department announced in June they would not defend the Obamacare law in court, so they are not likely to appeal the ruling. A number of states like California plan to appeal the ruling.
The appeal would be heard by the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which has 11 Republican-appointed judges and 5 Democrat-appointed judges. The case could then go to the Supreme Court but Yale Law professor Abbe Gluck predicted to USA Today that the high court would only take it up if the decision is upheld.
Gluck said the "current Supreme Court will not accept the case" if the decision is overturned because "the case is extremely weak on the law and I don't think anyone on the court has the appetite for another politicized Obamacare showdown."
She added that if the ruling is upheld, the Supreme Court "will have to take the case."
Trump brags about decision: Trump touted the decision as “great news for America” and claimed the ruling will “lead to GREAT healthcare results for Americans.”
Lawmakers predict ruling will be overturned: Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins predicted that the ruling “will be overturned” because the decision was “far too sweeping.”
"There are many good provisions of the law. Those should be retained," Collins said.
Dems vow to try to intervene: Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer vowed an intervention from Congress in response to the ruling.
"It's an awful, awful ruling. We're going to fight this, tooth and nail. And the first thing we're going to do, when we get back there in the Senate, is urge — put a vote on the floor urging an intervention in the case," he told NBC News.
Schumer said the ruling “puts a lot of our Republicans in a box.”
"On the one hand, they said they want to preserve pre-existing conditions and preserve health care. On the other hand, Donald Trump and a large number of Republicans brought this court suit," he said. "So there are going to be a good number of Republicans who are going to really have to make a decision whether to join us in this intervention or face very severe consequences.”