Texas judge dismantles Obamacare, ruling individual mandate unconstitutional

Posted at 7:48 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-14 20:48:28-05

(RNN) – A federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional in whole on Friday night, likely setting up a final decision on the law’s fate at the Supreme Court.

The law, known as Obamacare, was effectively nullified by the ruling.

Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, in Fort Worth, heard arguments in the case in early September, but did not issue his ruling until Friday evening.

At issue was the individual mandate, the provision in Obamacare that requires everyone to have health insurance or face a penalty in the form of a tax.

The Supreme Court upheld that part of the law in 2012, ruling it fell in line with Congress’ power to levy taxes.

Congress, however, eliminated the tax penalty last December as part of President Trump’s major tax overhaul.

Judge O’Connor ruled that, therefore, the mandate without a tax penalty attached was unconstitutional, and so too the rest of the law.

“The court … declares the Individual Mandate UNCONSTITUTIONAL,” Reed judgment concludes. “Further, the Court declares the remaining provisions of the ACA are INSEVERABLE and therefore INVALID.”

It is unclear what will happen to the law’s many provisions until an appeal reaches the Supreme Court.

The open enrollment period regulated by Obamacare was set to end on Saturday.

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