Healthcare in the United States has become a major constituent of its political landscape, which was quite apparent in the November midterm elections. A controversial court ruling striking down Obamacare resurrected a disagreement amongst Americans and the political parties.
On Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, and fulfilled an eight-year–long desire of the conservatives.
Earlier this year, Republican officials in 20 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a lawsuit argued that the Obamacare requirement for people to have health insurance — known as the individual mandate — is unconstitutional, and therefore, so is the entire law.
District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a 55-page opinion in a lawsuit, declaring that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. He wrote, “The court finds the individual mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s tax power and is still impermissible under the interstate commerce clause ― meaning the individual mandate is unconstitutional…. [T]he court finds the individual mandate is essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA.”
The court ruling is being considered as an explosive with the potential of shaking up President Donald Trump, as he looks forward to run for re-elections in 2020. Legal experts anticipated that the case may not be resolved in the courts before 2020, and could possibly become a defining issue in the race for the White House and Congress.
Trump said that the federal judge’s decision came as an early Christmas gift that clears the decks for a health care plan in the new year. “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL,” he tweeted on Friday. “Great news for America!”
Andy Slavitt, who oversaw Obamacare implementation in the Obama administration, said, “When Trump says this is ‘great for America,’ he’s forgetting the healthcare driven whipping Republicans got in the midterms.”
“Rather than let that heal, he’s making healthcare a 2020 prime fight and also putting Republicans in the Senate at great exposure,” he added.
While President Trump celebrated the court ruling, his administration was quick to highlight that the current law remains in effect, as of now. The administrator for the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma wrote on Twitter, “The exchanges are still open for business.”
Meanwhile, Democrats warned that the Republican-led lawsuit that sought to invalidate popular parts of Obamacare — protections for pre-existing conditions and a ban on annual lifetime limits — has put the healthcare coverage for millions of Americans at stake. Moreover, provisions that affect wider health insurance market, such as keeping adults on their parents’ policies until age 26, are also at risk.
These elements have remained crucial and widely popular in the suburban areas that expressed criticism towards Republicans in November’s mid-term elections.
In the midterm elections in 2018, Democrats highlighted the attempts of rival Republicans to get rid of Obamacare’s consumer protections, a strategy that offered bonuses as the party won 40 House seats.
House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi said the ruling “exposes the monstrous endgame of Republicans’ all-out assault on people with pre-existing conditions and Americans’ access to affordable healthcare.”
Healthcare has been the major issue that the Republicans struggled with during the midterm elections campaign. On one hand, they vowed to back protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and issued a lawsuit that would undo those provisions on the other.
According to the House exit polls published by CNN, the most crucial issue to Americans was healthcare with a nearly two-to-one margin, while those who referred to it preferred Democrats over Republicans by a striking 52-point margin.
One of the prominent Republican ally of the president said that healthcare could become Trump’s “Achilles heel” in 2020, when he’s up for re-election.
Former Republican congressman, David Jolly said, “I’m not sure Republicans even know what they’re fighting for right now when it comes to healthcare.”
On Saturday, Former President Barack Obama responded on social media, calling the decision “a reminder that Republicans will never stop trying to undo” the protections offered by his signature health care law.
Some Republicans, including Senator Susan Collins, also opposed the GOP’s attempts to strike down Obamacare. “I think this will be overturned on appeal,” Collins said on Sunday, adding, “There’s no reason why the individual mandate provision can’t be struck down and keep all the good provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”
The Friday court ruling has been considered an occasion of celebration by President Donald Trump, as well as majority of the Republicans. However, many have speculated that their attempts might prove to be risky for GOP in the 2020 presidential polls, as healthcare is increasingly becoming a major concern for the people of America.
It is definitely a deceptive victory for Trump administration, as the situation might turn for worse. While he should have simply opposed a single provision of Obamacare, striking down the entire Bill is just a move taken out of rivalry.
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