Core provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were ruled unconstitutional by a Texas judge on Friday following a lawsuit brought by a group of Republican attorneys general from 20 states against Democratic attorneys general from 14 states led by California’s Xavier Becerra.
According to court documents (below) US District Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth agreed with the GOP coalition that he had to gut key provisions of the Affordable Care Act after Congress last year eliminated the individual mandate – a tax penalty for not buying insurance.
Friday’s decision which will undoubtedly be fought all the way to the Supreme Court, as California has already announced that they will appeal.
The Democratic attorneys general argued that overturning Obamacare would toss millions of people from health insurance rolls by reversing Medicaid expansion – which would end tax credits and allow insurers to start denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
DOJ attorneys urged Judge O’Connor to strike down the individual mandate and pre-existing condition mandate, however they asked the judge to spare the rest of the law – including Medicaid expansion, health exchanges, the employer mandate, federal healthcare reimbursement rates for hospitals and premium subsidies.
On September 13, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh tried to save Obamacare, seeking a judgement that the Affordable Care Act is indeed constitutional, in the form of a court order barring the United States from taking any action inconsistent with that conclusion. Frosh sued then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions along with the DOJ and department of Health and Human Services.