This could be a blessing in disguise. Since Democrats have regained control of the House, they can pass a universal single payer health insurance program to replace the ACA.
I have maintained every since the ACA was enacted that it was unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court actually ruled that the main part of it was unconstitutional in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, when the majority ruled that the government violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by requiring individuals to purchase a product from a private market. It was a strange ruling because the court upheld the individual mandate because it was a tax, and Congress has the constitutional power to impose taxes.
The inconsistency of the ruling is that the court essentially said that the government had the power to impose a tax on something that the same court ruled was unconstitutional.
I think Roberts' intent was to send the law back to Congress to pass as a tax, which the only way to do so is to enact a universal single payer plan. It appears that no one in Washington D.C., Democrat or republican, understood what Roberts was trying to do.
Now, we are left with no other option. Yes, we can challenge the current ruling of the lower court in Texas, but the safe thing to do is for a Democratic House to pass a universal single payer law, and challenge Mitch McConnell to kill it in the Senate, which would make 2020 even more likely that Democrats will take control of the Senate and the White House.
A federal judge in Texas threw the health coverage of some 20 million Americans in limbo by ruling Obamacare must be scrapped because Congress struck the penalty for failing to obtain insurance coverage.
The invalidation of the landmark 2010 law is certain to send shock waves through the U.S. health system and Washington after a midterm election seen in part as a rebuke to Republican efforts to tear down Obamacare.
“Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas,” President Donald Trump wrote in a tweet celebrating the verdict. “Great news for America!”
The decision will be immediately appealed, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led several blue states in intervening to defend the ACA. It could ultimately become the third major Obamacare case to be taken up by the Supreme Court, which has twice voted to uphold the law.
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee in Fort Worth, Texas, issued the decision gutting the law in response to a lawsuit from 20 conservative-led states that sought to have the Affordable Care Act tossed out. They successfully argued that the mandate penalty was a critical linchpin of the law and that without it, the entire frameworks is rendered unconstitutional.
“In sum, the Individual Mandate ‘is so interwoven with [the ACA’s] regulations that they cannot be separated. None of them can stand,’” O’Connor wrote.
The decision came a little more than 24 hours before the sign-up period for 2019 Obamacare coverage is set to close — and roughly a month after voters upset over Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the ACA swept House Democrats back into the majority. O’Connor did not issue an injunction, leaving it unclear whether the Trump administration can continue to enforce the ACA in the near term. Obamacare enrollment will continue up to the Saturday deadline, administration officials said.
"We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who oversees Obamacare's insurance marketplaces, tweeted late Friday that Obamacare exchanges are still open for business and that open enrollment will continue. "There is no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan," she wrote.
Democrats late Friday decried the decision as reckless and urged an appeals court to overturn it, while also tying it to the GOP’s broader efforts to eliminate the ACA.
“Republicans want to gut healthcare. It’s not a talking point, it’s not an exaggeration,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted on Friday. “For ideological reasons, and because many can’t stand that it’s named Obamacare, they are causing millions to feel anxiety and possibly suffer. Shame on them.”
Republicans zeroed out the mandate penalty as part of their 2017 overhaul of the tax code, after failing throughout last year to repeal and replace the ACA in full. The penalty is slated to disappear next year.
The ruling puts the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers in a bind. They've promised to save the health law's pre-existing condition protections if the court threw them out, but for years they've been unable to agree on an alternative that would maintain the law's stringent safeguards.