A federal judge in Texas ruled late Friday that core aspects of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, are unconstitutional, a win for Republicans and the Trump administration that could leave those insured under the system in uncertain territory.
The 55-page ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor in the Nothern District of Texas was issued just one day before open enrollment was set to end this year for President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
O’Connor agreed with a coalition of Republicans that it was unconstitutional to mandate that individuals buy health insurance or be taxed for not complying. He said last year’s tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under Obamacare by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.
“The court today finds the individual mandate is no longer fairly readable as an exercise of Congress’s tax power and continues to be unsustainable under Congress’s interstate commerce power,” O’Connor wrote. “The court therefore finds the individual mandate, unmoored from a tax, is unconstitutional.”