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Federal judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional


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(Reuters) - A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was unconstitutional based on its mandate requiring that people buy health insurance, a decision in a case that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

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U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of 20 states that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire Obamacare law.

The coalition of states challenging the law was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, both Republicans.

 

Republicans have opposed the 2010 law - the signature domestic policy achievement of Republican President Donald Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama - since its inception and have repeatedly tried and failed to repeal it.

 

O’Connor ruled that under the logic of the landmark 2012 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law, the individual mandate, which required that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a tax, is now unconstitutional.

 

In the 2012 ruling, a majority of the justices concluded that the individual mandate unconstitutionally imposed a requirement that Americans buy insurance. However, a different majority held the mandate amounted to a constitutional tax penalty.

 

On Friday, O’Connor ruled that after Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill passed by Congress last year that eliminated the penalties, the individual mandate could no longer be considered constitutional.

 

He said because the individual mandate was an “essential” part of Obamacare, the entire law, rather than just the individual mandate, was unconstitutional.

 

“In some ways, the question before the Court involves the intent of both the 2010 and 2017 Congresses,” he wrote. “The former enacted the ACA. The latter sawed off the last leg it stood on.”

 

O’Connor’s decision was issued the day before the end of a 45-day sign-up period for 2019 health coverage under the law.

 

About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans, according to the U.S. government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

 

A spokeswoman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was among a group of Democratic attorneys general defending the law, said they would appeal the decision. An appeal would go to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement the law would remain in place pending its expected appeal to the Supreme Court.

 

Trump hailed the ruling and called on Congress to act. “Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions,” Trump said in a tweet.

 

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No immediate health coverage changes from Obamacare ruling: government

 

(Reuters) - There will be no immediate health coverage impact from a federal judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional, as it is expected to be appealed through higher courts, a government official said.

 

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday sided with a coalition of 20 states that argued requiring people to pay for insurance coverage is illegal because a change in tax law last year eliminated a penalty for not having health insurance.

 

Republicans have opposed the 2010 law - the signature domestic policy achievement of Republican President Donald Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama - since its inception and have repeatedly tried and failed to repeal it.

 

O’Connor’s decision was issued the day before the end of a 45-day sign-up period for 2019 health coverage under the law.

 

The Trump administration’s head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS), which oversees the Affordable Care Act, said there were no changes and exchanges were open for business.

“We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court,” Seema Verma, CMS administrator, said on Twitter on Saturday. “Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place.”

 

“There is no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan,” she said late on Friday.

 

The ruling underscored the high political stakes involved in America’s partisan divide over healthcare policy, especially for Trump and fellow Republicans in the 2020 presidential election. Dismantling Obamacare would be a political victory for the Republicans, but it would also likely strip millions of Americans’ of their health insurance coverage, a policy problem for which Republicans have no clear solution.

 

About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans.

 

The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in 2012.

 

On Friday, O’Connor ruled that after Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill passed by Congress last year, the individual mandate requiring that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a tax could no longer be considered constitutional.

 

He said because the individual mandate was an “essential” part of Obamacare, the entire law, rather than just the individual mandate, was unconstitutional.

 

Timothy Jost, a health law expert and emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia, said it was “silly” and “irresponsible” for O’Connor to find that the individual mandate could not be separated from the rest of the ACA. He said judges who find that portions of laws are invalid are required “to do as little damage as possible” to the rest of the law, and O’Connor had ignored that principle.

 

Jost noted that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear any appeal in the case, is considered the most conservative federal appeals court in the country. But, “O’Connor is so far off the reservation here that virtually any (appeals) panel will reverse him,” Jost said.

 

Jost noted that in the 2012 case in which the Supreme Court upheld the ACA, a lower appeals court had found the individual mandate unlawful but also ruled that it could be severed from the rest of the law. That ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals “is at least as persuasive and probably more persuasive than a decision by a single judge in Wichita Falls, Texas,” Jost said.

 

He said the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative wing has been skeptical in the past of striking down entire laws because of a single problematic provision, and at least a bare majority of five justices would likely agree that O’Connor was wrong.

 

Congressional Republicans were quick to offer praise. House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement: “Obamacare is a broken law … Yesterday’s court decision also underscores what we have believed – it is an unconstitutional law.”

 

Democrats including Senate leader Chuck Schumer said the decision should not stand.

 

“This outrageous ruling threatens health coverage for millions of Americans … This ruling must be overturned,” said Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan in a statement.

 

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Former President Barack Obama responded by comforting those who might be frightened that they would lose heath insurance.  He said: "As the decision makes its way through the courts, which will take months, if not years, the law remains in place and will likely stay that way".

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3 hours ago, nir said:

Former President Barack Obama responded by comforting those who might be frightened that they would lose heath insurance.  He said: "As the decision makes its way through the courts, which will take months, if not years, the law remains in place and will likely stay that way".

Easy for him to say hes not the one who being fined because he can't afford  to buy Obama Care and hes no longer in charge and what he says don't mean jack because its all ready was changed , they just want make it against the law period.

 

The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States that Do Not Expand Medicaid

https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/the-coverage-gap-uninsured-poor-adults-in-states-that-do-not-expand-medicaid/

 

The plain is no good  they force people to buy  it or be fined if they don't have private or state coverage and in many States they want give the poor medicaid. 20 states in the USA say its wrong and illegal  and they eliminated  the fine . Even if it stays in place they going to stop fining  people it will be changed  , only 4 states left that going to enforce it  and  7 states going make there own laws  that means 39  states are no longer  going to require you to have insurance  . So what good is it ? no one is going to buy it except for the ones that were already suckered into it back when he was enforcing it and the ones cant afford it will drop it. Because  people are poor they was charging them.

https://www.healthcare.com/blog/states-with-individual-mandate/

 

Healthcare 6 19 18 Individual Mandate 01 1

 

Them leaving it up to the state is wrong too, that's the same reason Medicaid is messed up and  it's the Clinton's you can thank for that ,  it was Hillary who reformed welfare and left  it up to the state ,  before welfare  was a left up to the federal govt like it should be,  the federal govt is paying the bill . all states should be made to provide the poor with Medicaid!

 

Charging poor people $695 per person or 2.5 percent of there  total household income,  is no different than liberal Darwinism in the 19th and 20 century were they killed  millions of people because they were inferior to them. punishing people because  they are different  . Anything  deemed unconstitutional is government overreach. And the Government don't always know whats  best for us, because  our history and the  way we treated people badly before because they was different proves it.

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Trump hails judge's ruling against Obamacare as 'great'

 

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Saturday hailed a court decision against Obamacare as “a great ruling for our country,” while a U.S. government official said the decision by a Texas judge would have no immediate impact on health coverage.

 

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday said that Obamacare, known formally as the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), was unconstitutional based on its mandate requiring that people buy health insurance.

 

In a decision that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court, O’Connor sided with a coalition of 20 states that argued requiring people to pay for insurance coverage is illegal because a change in tax law last year eliminated a penalty for not having health insurance.

 

“It’s a great ruling for our country. We will be able to get great healthcare. We will sit down with the Democrats if the Supreme Court upholds,” Trump told reporters during a visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on a rainy Saturday.

 

Trump offered no details on the potential for healthcare talks with the Democrats, who are poised to take majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives in early January. The Senate will remain in Republican hands.

 

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Healthcare Reform News Update for December 14, 2018

 

The idea of creating a “Medicare-for-all” healthcare system has become a major issue for many in Congress, especially with Democrats taking over the House in 2019. However, lawmakers differ on the solution. There are currently six different universal health care bills in Congress and two proposals from Democratic think-tanks.

 

Vox reporters researched these eight plans, spoke to their authors, and published their analysis yesterday. Here are the plans and some of Vox’s findings about them:

  1. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) Medicare-for-all bill: This Senate bill guarantees that every American has health coverage with no premiums. Employer-sponsored insurance would be eliminated. Income taxes would have to increase. All expenses would be covered, but prescriptions might have copayments.
  2. Rep. Premila Jayapal (D-WA) and the House Progressive Caucus’ Medicare-for-all bill: This House bill is similar to Sanders’ proposal. Some of the provisions may be  currently under revision to more align with Sanders’ version.
  3. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-RI) CHOICE Act: This bill would make enrollment into a Medicare expansion plan optional. Enrollees would pay premiums. Employer-sponsored plans would still be available, but small businesses could opt-in to the Medicare plan. Income taxes would not need to be increased. Plans would cover between 60 and 80 percent of expected medical expenses.
  4. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) Medicare X: This is similar to the CHOICE Act, but plans would be available in two tiers: one covers 70 percent of medical expenses, the other covers 80 percent.
  5. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) Choose Medicare Act: This is also similar to the CHOICE Act, but employees could only opt-in if their employers allow it. Plans would cover 80 percent of medical expenses.
  6. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan’s (D-NM) Medicaid Buy-in bill: This plan would give residents in all 50 states the option to buy-in to a Medicaid program. States would determine the premiums, copayments, and deductibles. Employer-sponsored plans would still be available. Income taxes would not be increased.
  7. The Center for American Progress’ Medicare Extra for All proposal: The proposal guarantees that every American has health coverage, with higher-income enrollees paying premiums. Employer-sponsored plans would still be available, but employers will have the option to stop offering coverage and instead pay a payroll tax roughly equivalent to what they currently spend on health insurance. Income taxes would be increased.
  8. The Urban Institute’s Healthy America proposal: This plan doesn’t set universal coverage standards, but hopes to reduce the number of uninsured by 16 million in its first year. A new market would be established that combines Medicaid and ACA enrollees. Employer-sponsored plans would be available and untouched. Premiums would be a maximum of 8.5 percent of income. Plans would cover 80 percent of medical expenses.

All plans include government regulation of healthcare prices. While the Democrats do not believe they will pass Medicare-for-all with this Congress, they do believe that now is the time for working out the plans and building support.

 

 

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