Overturning ACA, Federal Judge Rules Almost Every Republican in Congress Voted to Kill Pre-Existing Conditions Protections

Overturning ACA, Federal Judge Rules Almost Every Republican in Congress Voted to Kill Pre-Existing Conditions Protections

News came through the wires just about an hour ago that a federal judge in Texas, Reed O’Conner (who was appointed by George W. Bush and whose only notable cases have been about clashing with President Obama), has assumed extrajudicial powers to overrule the Supreme Court, and ruled that the Affordable Care Act, in whole, is unconstitutional.

The argument presented in the case by Texas and other conservative states trying to dismantle health care for hundreds of millions of Americans who, under it, enjoy protections against pre-existing conditions, was… novel, if chaos theory is your thing. Having spectacularly lost an argument in the US Supreme Court that Obamacare’s requirement that those who can afford insurance buy it is unconstitutional back in 2012, the states now argue that the entire law is invalid because the mandate is no longer enforceable. The Republican tax law from 2017 does not technically eliminate the mandate, but zeroes out the penalty for it, making it unenforceable.

Texas - having previously argued that the ACA was unconstitutional because of the penalty - turned around and argued in this case that the ACA is unconstitutional because the penalty was eliminated. That elimination, they argued, made the Supreme Court case moot, and the law without the penalty was causing states to have to pay too much for people on their rolls.

Judge O’Conner jumped at the chance of overruling the Supreme Court.

In the case, the Affordable Care Act is being defended by a coalition of other states led by California, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced that an appeal will be filed before the end of the year. Given the Supreme Court precedence, Judge O’Conner’s decision dismantling health care is unlikely to be the last word.

Nevertheless, in light of the flash of coverage that this news will cause, Americans should consider the true implication of the case brought by 20 conservative states: they are blatantly stating that every single person who voted for the Trump tax cuts voted not only to take away coverage from 20 million Americans, but also to removepre-existing conditions protections for 133 million of us. Texas et al. literally argued that the removal of the penalty to enforce the individual mandate invalidates everything in the ACA, and the penalty was removed through the Trump tax giveaway.

227 House Republicans, and 51 Republican Senators - including “moderates” like Susan Collins - voted for the tax bill. That is almost every single Republican serving in the current Congress, and almost every single Republican returning to the next.

It’s not just an argument Texas made. It’s an argument that’s been adopted by a federal judge. This is not something Republicans should be allowed to escape in 2020, regardless of whether this decision is eventually overturned on appeal.

Not that it should have taken this case to prove that Republicans wish to remove consumer protections, including pre-existing conditions protections, implemented under the Affordable Care Act. After all, during President Obama’s terms in office, the Republicans in Congress voted nearly 60 times to uproot the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing condition protections and all. But this is the first time a Republican state has made - and won, for now - a legal argument confirming a law they passed removed those protections.

We should never let them live this down.



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