The Trump Administration is set to act on a 2018 ruling from a federal judge in Texas declaring the framework of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional. The move comes after the president feels vindicated following the release of White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which has Democrats feeling very disappointed.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled late last year in Texas v. U.S. (2018) that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act signed into law in December 2017 removed the “constitutional foundation” on which “Obamacare” stood.
He explained the measure thereby eliminated a penalty for not having coverage under the federal healthcare overhaul of the early 2010’s. The penalty paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by those when taxes are due is “therefore invalid” as it cannot be separated from the rest of the law, the judge explained in his 55-page opinion.
On the ruling, the Department of Justice (DOJ), led by Attorney General William Barr, stated that they have “determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” adding that the U.S. government “is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed,” The Daily Caller reports.
The judge’s ruling is most certainly set to go through an appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Though, if the decision is upheld, it would completely vanquish the nation’s taxpayer-funded healthcare system.
In his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump pushed a pledge to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, even leading a charge in the first six months of his presidency to overturn the law, but ultimately failed in the U.S. Senate.
Regardless, Trump scored a victory in removing the Obamacare “individual mandate” in his tax reform legislation, which penalized citizens for not having healthcare.
Out of the recent decision, a few possible scenarios may arise.
The DOJ’s concurrence could accelerate negotiations between the White House and the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives over potential replacement plans for the ACA.
There could be eventual discussions on the lesser-known aspects of the healthcare system like prescription drug prices, giving patients more freedom to choose experimental treatments, and other provisions.
President Trump could be setting up the liberal party for gaffes on ruinously expensive plans like “Medicare for All.”
It could, however, also be vengeance against Democrats for unabashedly calling for the president’s impeachment during the 675 days of rampant speculation that was the Mueller investigation.