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Federal Appeals Court Rules Obamacare Insurance Mandate Unconstitutional

12-19-2019

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the individual insurance mandate in Obamacare is unconstitutional. That's the part of the law requiring Americans to buy health insurance.

In a 2-1 vote, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Congress was right to remove the mandate, meaning the law can't be enforced.
  
But the court didn't rule on whether the entire law is constitutional, instead directing a lower court to reconsider a ruling that the entire law is invalid.

"It may be that all of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate. It may also be that some of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate, and some is not," wrote Judge Jennifer Elrod, a Bush appointee.

"But it is no small thing for unelected, life-tenured judges to declare duly enacted legislation passed by the elected representatives of the American people unconstitutional."
  
Other parts of the Affordable Care Act are popular and could survive such as provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children under 26 years old to remain on the parents' health insurance. 

The case could go to the Supreme Court next year.

President Trump said the decision is "a win for all Americans and confirms what I have said all along: that the individual mandate, by far the worst element of Obamacare, is unconstitutional."

Democrats say Republicans are merely using the courts to make policy, instead of getting legislation passed in Congress. 

"Today's ruling is the result of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans attempting to make dangerous health policy using the courts since they failed to succeed in Congress," said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal on Wednesday. "This is a blow to our nation's health care system and the millions of Americans who have gained coverage and protections under the Affordable Care Act."
 

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