There was a dramatic new development in the long-running fight over Obamacare last week, when a federal judge ruled that the controversial health care reform is unconstitutional. This isn’t the end of the story – more like the opening shots of another battle in a very long war – but it’s a significant development, and the left-wing pot is coming to the boil pretty quickly.
In a decision that’s bound to send shockwaves through politics for months to come, a Texas federal judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) violates the United States Constitution. According to District Judge Reed O’Connor, the ACA is so flawed that it can’t be allowed to stand.
- The case was brought by a coalition of 19 states, including Texas, which are suffering financially from the fallout of Obamacare. According to the states, changes to the law last year mean they’re having to waste taxpayers’ money on supporting people who could – and should – pay for their own health insurance.
- When the Supreme Court originally deemed Obamacare to be constitutional, that decision was based on the inclusion of tax penalties in the individual mandate. As the ACA was written, if you ignored the requirement to buy health insurance you were hit with a tax penalty that went toward the cost of covering state-provided insurance. This clause was removed by Congress last year, with predictable results – an explosion in the number of people who didn’t bother to get insurance, and a drop in the funds states had available to cover them with.
- It doesn’t seem like anyone even really tried to defend the revised individual mandate, but Democrats argued that the mandate could be removed without affecting the rest of Obamacare. Judge O’Connor disagreed, taking on board the states’ argument that the mandate is the heart of the ACA and can’t be separated from the rest of it.
- The ruling doesn’t mean Obamacare is dead and buried, though. Although the ACA has been struck down, an appeal is certain – and it’s likely to go all the way back to the Supreme Court. Will the appeal succeed? There’s a good chance it will, and Dems are already pledging to fight for it every inch of the way. Still, it’s hard to ignore this. Even if Obamacare survives on appeal, it’s now pretty clear that it’s an un-American law that needs revised even if it can’t be replaced.