WASHINGTON – After a federal judge ruled last week that Obamacare is unconstitutional and must be overturned, Democrats are vowing to appeal the decision.
Last Friday evening, US District Court Judge Reed O'Conner said the Affordable Care Act is invalid because Congress struck down the law's individual mandate.
"The court … declares the Individual Mandate UNCONSTITUTIONAL," he wrote in his judgment. "Further, the Court declares the remaining provisions of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) are INSEVERABLE and therefore INVALID."
Judge O'Conner issued the ruling after 20 states filed suit over the law.
Speaking at the Congressional Christmas Ball on Saturday, President Donald Trump applauded the decision.
"I believe we're going to get really good healthcare," Trump told the gathering of House and Senate lawmakers. "Exciting things happened over the last 24 hours."
"And if everybody's smart because we have Democrats here tonight and I'm very happy about that," he continued. "People don't realize that I have a lot of friends who are Democrats and we have Democrats here."
"If the Republicans and Democrats get together we are going to end up with incredible healthcare, which is the way it should have been from day one and it's going to happen. It now has a chance to happen."
Democrats, however, have made it clear they have no intention of taking Friday's ruling lying down.
Calling O'Conner's ruling "absurd," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blamed Republicans for Friday's "decision and for the fear they have struck into millions of families across America who are now in danger of losing their health coverage."
"When House Democrats take the gavel, the House of Representatives will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans' effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act," she said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) agreed, saying the judge had put "healthcare for millions of Americans at risk."
"Not only does this ruling threaten coverage for pre-existing conditions, it would undo all consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid," she charged. "California and other states will appeal this ruling to protect the law that so many Americans depend on."
Healthcare played a critical role in the midterm elections, and some analysts say the GOP's failure to fix and replace Obamacare is one reason they lost voters.
Even Republicans agree provisions of the law, such as accepting people with pre-existing conditions, should be protected.
"The judge's ruling was far too sweeping," Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday.
"He could have taken a much more surgical approach and just struck down the individual mandate and keep the rest of the law intact," she said. "I believe that it will be overturned."
The ruling, which came just a little more than a day before the open enrollment period was set to end, does not affect any of the 17 million people currently enrolled in Obamacare.