"The lawsuit had to do with whether when Congress previous year repealed or eliminated the penalty for not having insurance - it was a tax penalty for people who didn't have insurance - whether that meant the rest of the law didn't apply anymore". His ruling is expected to be appealed, which means the conservative-majority Supreme Court, with newly appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, will have a chance to reassess the constitutionality of the law. However, the Trump administration officials said that many parts of the law could continue to remain in place.
"Congress stated many times unequivocally - through enacted text signed by the President - that the Individual Mandate is "essential" to the ACA", O'Connor wrote in the decision, using the initials of the law's formal title, the Affordable Care Act.
Federal Judge Reed Charles O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas struck down the law, in the course of a lawsuit brought by 19 states that involved the Constitutionality of the individual mandate. It agreed that the zeroing out the penalty renders the individual mandate unconstitutional but argued that that invalidates only the law's protections of those with pre-existing conditions. The plaintiffs argue that the law in its entirety is invalid because the removal of the penalty tax nullifies the argument used by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 upholding the law on the premise that the ACA is ultimately a tax and thus falls under the authority of Congress, which has "the power to impose taxes", in this case "on those without health insurance".
The Trump administration decided not to defend Obamacare against the lawsuit, effectively siding with the states.
But Democrats are certain to wait out the case in appellate courts or recommend easier fixes to restore the mandate. The Supreme Court may or may not choose to hear the appeal, however. Also, they said that eliminating Obamacare or the protections for those with pre-existing conditions would harm millions of Americans.
Democratic leaders, meanwhile, reacted harshly to the decision.
Politifact notes that 20 million people gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Republicans who tried to undermine those safeguards during their failed effort to repeal the health law a year ago were forced on the defensive and went on record saying they, too, want to make sure people with health problems can get coverage. "We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions have protection, and we want to make sure that people have access to affordable coverage".