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Federal Court's Affordable Care Act Ruling Bolsters Case for Medicare for All

18 December 2018, 12:46 | Louis Holland

Obamacare is unconstitutional, judge rules | News

U.S. judge finds obamacare unconstitutional

Federal District Court Judge Reed O'Connor ruled Friday that tax reform passed by Republicans last year essentially killed Obamacare because the tax package eliminated the individual mandate penalty, which one would incur if they were uninsured for part of a tax year.

"The fact that they could cause their fellow Republicans harm did not seem to bother them", said Wilensky, a critic of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the judge's decision will not stop the enforcement of the existing law.

Centene Corp. and Molina Healthcare Inc. could bear the brunt of the selloff in managed care given their exposure to Medicaid and Obamacare markets, also known as the public exchanges.

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The S&P 500 Managed Care Index fell 2.3 percent to the lowest since October 29, led by Centene, WellCare, Anthem and Cigna. If you have a pre-existing condition, you could be denied insurance or have to pay more for your coverage.

"You might have heard about a federal court decision on a Republican lawsuit trying to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety", the former president said in a post on Facebook and on Twitter.

In the meantime, the deadline for Americans seeking health insurance coverage during 2019 under Obamacare had arrived on Saturday night, and the Texas ruling did not disturb that process or interfere with the coverage that those who signed up had obtained - at least that is the assurance that federal health officials have given. But with that "tax" - or penalty - having been removed starting next year, Republicans challenging the law in this case argued the program is now illegal.

Obamacare expanded by millions the number of Americans with medical insurance. He likened the debate over which provisions of the law should stand or fail to "watching a slow game of Jenga, each party poking at a different provision to see if the ACA falls". About 11.8 million people nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare insurance plans. The Texas Attorney General, joined by a consortium of 18 other state attorneys general and a governor, initiated a lawsuit attacking the ACA soon thereafter, arguing that the elimination of the linchpin penalty provision rendered the entire law unconstitutional. "A confirming Supreme Court Decision will lead to GREAT HealthCare results for Americans!"

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"The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court", he said.

The ruling, if affirmed, would have a draconian impact on the healthcare sector and the overhang alone could trigger widespread selling across the sector, Oppenheimer analyst Michael Wiederhorn said. But the group of Republican governors and state officials who brought the current lawsuit argue that since the penalty for not buying coverage has been reduced to zero, the mandate is no longer a tax and thus is now not allowed under USA law. Rovner says the case will probably reach the Supreme Court, though lower courts may reject O'Conner's ruling first. A federal judge in Texas concluded that, without the tax penalty for violating the individual mandate, the tax-based rationale behind Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion in King v Burwell was no longer sustainable.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose Medicare for All bill now has 15 co-sponsors in the Senate, demanded that O'Connor's ruling be overturned to protect the millions of people who rely on the ACA, and was among those who called for the country to "move forward" from battles over healthcare access-instead prioritizing the availability of government-sponsored healthcare for every American. "This is insanity in print, and it will not stand up on appeal", tweeted University of Michigan Law School professor Nicholas Bagley, an expert in health law.

Health-care stocks were among the worst performers in the S&P 500 selloff Monday as hospitals and insurance stocks sink on a judge's ruling Friday that Obamacare is unconstitutional.

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