'Five-alarm fire' breaks out over ruling to ax Care Act

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"As the individual mandate was an essential element of the ACA, the whole of Obamacare was therefore unconstitutional", O'Connor said.

Until O'Connor issues a final judgment, the Democratic attorneys general defending the law can not appeal the case to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"This'll be another area where health care will be used as a political issue, way beyond one district judge making a ruling that has no immediate impact", Blunt said.

The plaintiffs were helped by the fact that the Trump Administration's Department of Justice failed to take on its duty of offering a defense of the law, a decision that enforced the appearance that the case was largely motivated by politics. The Republicans campaigned heavily on "repealing and replacing" the ACA ("Obamacare") in 2016, pointing to massive increases in premiums for health insurance plans as evidence that the law was failing.

"Our team worked around the clock over the weekend, and we're planning to imminently challenge Friday's decision", the spokesperson said. They say it is no longer fairly readable as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power and continues to be unsustainable under the Interstate Commerce Clause. They don't want to insure the uninsured.

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Congress is unlikely to act while the case remains in the courts. "This decision denies coverage to more than 100 million Americans, including seniors, veterans, children, people with disabilities, hardworking Americans with low incomes, young adults on their parents' plans under age 26, and millions of Americans with preexisting conditions".

"In our view the ACA is constitutional and the law of the land", a Democratic aide for the House Ways and Means Committee said. But as a practical matter, the law appears to be remaining in place pending appeals. There is not now a viable alternative to the law that can pass the House and Senate and get signed into law by President Trump. "We will do something right away, or nearly immediately". Under conditions in which 51 million USA households can not afford a "survival budget" to pay for basic necessities like housing, food and healthcare, they have offered only a limited challenge to the White House drive to impose work requirements in the food stamp and Medicaid programs, and to slash housing subsidies.

While that bill would prevent insurers from outright refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions or from charging them higher premiums, it would also allow them to exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions from their plans altogether.

Legal expert Timothy Jost, a supporter of the health law, said O'Connor's ruling would have repercussions for almost all Americans if it stands.

"The ACA has layer and layer of protections", Jost said.

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An alliance of 19 Republican attorneys general and a governor led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged the law. Under the law's community rating provision, insurers are not allowed to set premiums based on a person's health history.

Legal analysts continue to pan the merits of the lawsuit. Our guess is that even the right-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges will overturn Judge O'Connor on this point.

"It's absolutely ludicrous to hold that we do not know whether the 2017 Congress would have wanted the rest of the ACA to exist without an enforceable mandate, because the 2017 Congress did exactly that when it zeroed out the mandate and left the rest of the ACA standing", Yale Law School professor Abbe Gluck told the Washington Post.

"When Congress comes back in January, we need to do some reforms in the Affordable Care Act to make it more efficient and effective, but certainly not permit the courts to strike it down, as this Texas judge has done", Blumenthal says.

Even if only the marketplace and insurance reforms were invalidated, the implications would be far reaching, as nearly 12 million Americans received insurance through the exchange marketplace in 2018, and those provisions also affect the scope, pricing and availability of health insurance coverage to individuals well beyond just the individual exchange marketplace, including those with pre-existing conditions. (Alex Azar is now the USA secretary of health and human services). But the timing of the controversial ruling, which came one day before the end of the main open-enrollment period on December 15, may have confused people and could lower sign-up numbers even for those with extensions.

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