TEXAS — A federal judge in Texas said on Friday that the Affordable Care Act’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law must also fall.
“The Court … declares the Individual Mandate … unconstitutional,” District Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in his decision. “Further, the Court declares the remaining provisions of the ACA … are inseverable and therefore invalid.”
The case against the ACA, also known as Obamacare, brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, as well as two individuals.
It revolves around Congress effectively eliminating the individual mandate penalty by reducing it to $0 as part of the 2017 tax cut bill.
The Republican coalition is arguing that the change rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional. They say that the voiding of the penalty, which takes effect next year, removes the legal underpinning the Supreme Court relied upon when it upheld the law in 2012 under Congress’ tax power. The mandate requires nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty.
President Donald Trump immediately celebrated the ruling via Twitter and said Congress must now act.
“As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!” Trump wrote.
He later added, “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the ruling “an assault” and a spokesperson for his office indicated an appeal would be coming.
“Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA’s consumer protections for healthcare, on America’s faithful progress toward affordable healthcare for all Americans,” Becerra said in a statement. “The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded the ruling and said it represents a massive check on federal power.
“Today’s ruling enjoining Obamacare halts an unconstitutional exertion of federal power over the American health care system while our multistate coalition lawsuit works its way through the courts,” Paxton said in a staement. “Our lawsuit seeks to effectively repeal Obamacare, which will give President Trump and Congress the opportunity to replace the failed social experiment with a plan that ensures Texans and all Americans will again have greater choice about what health coverage they need and who will be their doctor.”
(CNN contributed to this article)