U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said on Sunday that she is confident that a federal judge's ruling declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional will be overturned. They claimed that when Congress a year ago repealed the tax penalty for the so-called individual mandate, it eliminated the U.S. Supreme Court's rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012. But even if the Justices prefer for the case to make its way up to their docket in due course, it seems inevitable that the highest court in the land will have its say about the ACA, once again.
But late previous year, when Congress passed its tax reform law, that ACA penalty was wiped away.
In Friday's decision, O'Connor said that because Congress lowered the penalty to zero past year, the mandate no longer came with a "tax" and is unconstitutional.
U.S. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin released a statement saying, "Wisconsin should have never signed on to this lawsuit and Scott Walker has not only broken his promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions, he has now signed legislation preventing Governor-elect Evers from keeping his promise to take our state's good name off this attack on people's health care". His ruling is likely to be appealed, possibly up to the Supreme Court, which has twice - in 2012 and 2015 - upheld the Affordable Care Act. Many senior Republican lawmakers have said they did not plan to also strike down provisions such as pre-existing condition coverage when they repealed the law's fines for people who can afford coverage but remain uninsured. So, his ruling did go into effect, in a definite though technical sense, as soon as it was published. During Obama's tenure, Congressional Republicans voted more than 60 times to repeal the law in the House, knowing full well their bills stood no chance of becoming law.
The ruling casts uncertainty on insurance coverage for millions of USA residents.
"Today's decision is an unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections and other policies that have extended health insurance coverage to millions of Americans", said American Medical Association president Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. And, if we're really #blessed, Donald Trump's rage at 20 million Americans not losing their health coverage will induce a presidential stroke.More news: Strasbourg Christmas market gunman 'shot dead'
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While the court's "absurd ruling will be immediately appealed, Republicans are fully responsible for this cruel decision", she said. "And that's because it was probably the most unpopular and unfair provision of the Affordable Care Act", Collins said.
In 2014, Thompson, Mississippi's only Democratic congressman, appeared on the "New Nation of Islam" radio program based in Lorman, Miss., and accused Bryant of opposing the ACA, colloquially known as "Obamacare", "just because a black man created it." O'Connor said the tax bill passed by Congress last December effectively rendered the entire health law unconstitutional. "And we are seeing it weakens the law, it raises premiums, but the law still remains quite strong, albeit not as strong as it would have been", Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said on CNN over the weekend.
"They have no plan for insuring the uninsured".
"The Affordable Care Act has also been up and running since 2014, which means so-called reliance interests come into play when considering a precedent". The law's opponents lost the first two cases. The program has since insured over 45 million people, but many Republicans oppose the law.
If the case reaches the Supreme Court, it would be the third time the high court considers a challenge to ACA provisions. This will have to go through a circuit court process.
In the ruling, Judge O'Connor begins by stating that courts are not "tasked with, nor are they suited to, policymaking".