Published: Fri, December 21, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

US Democrats vow to appeal ruling against Obamacare

US Democrats vow to appeal ruling against Obamacare

Still, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to become House speaker in January, vowed to fight what she called an "absurd ruling". "On the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we will get great, great health care for our people".

Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Sunday criticized a federal judge's ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, as well as the ongoing efforts by some Republicans to repeal the law. He wrote that the rest of the law can not be separated from that provision and therefore was invalid.

Most people, including those in the White House, expect the appeals process will land the case before the Supreme Court. He had been asked explicitly to do just that, by lawyers for the 19 states that had filed the lawsuit against Obamacare, but the federal government - while otherwise supporting the challengers on key points - asked the judge to avoid such an order (technically, an "injunction") and instead urged him to issue only a declaratory ruling.

The lawsuit has been opposed by a coalition of 17 Democratic attorneys general, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former congressman.

"Once again, the president calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with preexisting conditions and provide Americans with quality affordable healthcare", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

While congressional Republicans held their silence in reaction to the ruling, Democrats said they would test the GOP's commitment to such popular provisions. "Next year, we will force votes to expose their lies".

But Republicans, still stinging from their loss of the House in the midterm elections, are facing a fresh political quandary after U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor said the entire 2010 health law was invalid. "In the short run, this decision will be stayed pending appeals".

"In the interim, it provides Congress with a real opportunity recognizing that Obamacare is on life support to pull together and make a determination of the things that we need to do to provide sufficient healthcare for all Americans including pre-existing conditions", he said, after show host Steve Doocy complained his own daughter has deductibles on her own Obamacare plan that are too hard to meet.

Legal expert Timothy Jost, a supporter of the health law, said O'Connor's ruling would have repercussions for almost all Americans if it stands. That could include the section that allows parents to keep young adult children on their coverage until age 26.

It is possible that the recent election, showing major gains for Democratic candidates, many of whom made health insurance a central part of their campaign messaging, could create a more favorable climate in Congress.

The main provision in question is that of the individual mandate, which requires that everyone must have health insurance. "Over the last 8 years since it was signed into law, we have found out that the Democrats who passed it caused millions of families to lose the plans and doctors they liked, and imposed unaffordable premiums and deductibles that undermine the basic coverage that families enjoy". 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.

At the US Supreme Court, five justices in the nine-judge court who voted to uphold Obamacare in a separate case in 2012 are still on the bench.

The Post's Colby Itkowitz explained that the timing of the ruling comes as public opinion on the ACA has shifted toward the Democrats.

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