Klobuchar criticizes court decision on Affordable Care Act

Obamacare ruled unconstitutional by U.S. federal judge in Texas

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the United States health care law known as Obamacare is unconstitutional - a ruling that opposition Democrats quickly vowed to appeal. That latter group will also include many Republicans who campaigned on the promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions and could face political consequences if they renege on that.

"#Republicans' legal crusade against the #AffordableCareAct is a political stunt, but a risky one that puts health coverage and vital health protections for millions of Americans at risk", Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted Saturday.

This Oct. 23, 2018 file photo shows the HealthCare.gov website on a computer screen in NY.

Opposing the Republican lawsuit were 17 Democratic attorneys general led by Xavier Becerra of California.

US District Judge Reed O'Connor's 55-page ruling came in a lawsuit filed by several Republican state attorneys general opposed to the federal government health plan, known officially as the Affordable Care Act.

Pelosi said 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 law.

"On the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we will get great, great health care for our people", President Donald Trump told reporters during a visit Saturday to Arlington National Cemetery.

The former president tried to quell any dread that the ruling could ultimately strike down the entirety of his signature health-care law, which is commonly referred to as Obamacare.

In a tweet Saturday morning, Sen Angus King, I-Maine, noted the court ruling would not affect consumers buying insurance.

Collins found a middle ground, suggesting that while other key provisions of the law should be retained, the individual mandate should still be cut from the existing law.

Last year, Republicans - while attempting to repeal ObamaCare - ended up getting rid of the penalty.

But Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to become House speaker in January, vowed to fight what she called an "absurd ruling".

Two top House Republicans issued diverging statements.

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

Coverage limits, both annual and lifetime, could be included in health insurance.

"The GOP spent all past year pretending to support people with pre-existing conditions while quietly trying to remove that support in the courts", Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY said in a tweet Saturday. The case now will likely go to the Supreme Court. But, according to Seattle University law professor John Kirkwork, there's no reason to panic. Why?

The Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional in 2012 and 2015, though the first of those opinions struck down the ACA's provision that was to expand Medicaid nationwide, letting each state choose instead.

"A lot of this depends on congressional intent, so if a majority of the House and majority of the Senate say that this case should be overturned, it'll have a tremendous effect on the appeal", Schumer said.



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