Saturday, December 15, 2018

Obamacare Schadenfreude: It's Dead, Jim!

A federal judge in Texas threw a dagger into the Affordable Care Act on Friday night, ruling that the entire health-care law is unconstitutional because of a recent change in federal tax law.
I like how they stress that it's a Texas judge . . .
The opinion by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor overturns all of the sprawling law nationwide.
Like they had a problem with Hawaiian judges repeatedly overturning President Trumps immigration policy.
The ruling came on the eve of the deadline Saturday for Americans to sign up for coverage in the federal insurance exchange created under the law. If the ruling stands, it would create widespread disruption across the U.S. health-care system — from no-charge preventive services for older Americans on Medicare to the expansion of Medicaid in most states, to the shape of the Indian Health Service — in all, hundreds of provisions in the law that was a prized domestic achievement of President Barack Obama.

President Trump, who has made the dismantling of the ACA a chief goal since his campaign, swiftly tweeted his pleasure at the opinion. “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!” the president wrote just after 9 p.m. “Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions.”
Without getting deep into the legal weeds, what happened has been long predicted. In his engineered 6-3 decision upholding the law, Justice Roberts relied on the Congress's power to tax to keep the law intact. In Dec 2017, Congress repealed the mandate portion of the law, which was the tax (if you didn't have insurance, and didn't sign up, they fined, or "taxed" you).  Now, there's no tax, so the ruling holds that without the tax, the sign up requirement is unconstitutional, in theory.

Althouse: This won't hold up, but in case you're fired up to talk about it.

I'm sure it will be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, at which point Roberts will have to think hard about whether to find a new excuse, or to accept his own logic.

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