Federal judge rules Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

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A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional due to a recent change in federal tax law.

Texas, along with 19 states, had argued to U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor that they had been hurt by a jump in the amount of people utilizing state-backed insurance. Bloomberg has more, with the publication adding that the DOJ tried to argue that the individual mandate, including provisions to keep the premium rates the same among healthy individuals and those with pre-existing conditions, should be struck down, but keep the rest of the law intact.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Congress, however, eliminated the tax penalty last December as part of President Trump's major tax overhaul.

Twenty Republican-led states had argued the Supreme Court cast Obamacare as a package deal, with the mandate to hold insurance - or else pay a tax - tethered to the law's goodies.

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Lawyers for the Department of Justice had suggested that O'Connor should not rule until after the open enrollment period for the 2019 plan year ends on December 15 in order to avoid disrupting the markets.

President Trump responded to the ruling on Twitter with glee.

O'Connor's ruling comes one day ahead of when Obamacare's marketplaces will close for most of the country's open enrollment period.

The case is expected to be appealed and eventually reach the Supreme Court. There is no reason to not sign up while the implications of the judge's ruling are tested.

"The court recognized that the individual mandate penalty is unconstitutional, found that the entirety of the act could not be separated from the individual mandate penalty, and as a result, entered a judgment that the entirety of the affordable care act is invalid", Henneke said in an interview with the Star-Telegram on Friday.

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"Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law".

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said the ruling "seems to be based on faulty legal reasoning and hopefully it will be overturned".

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise boasted his chamber passed a law to replace Obamacare in May 2017, however, leaving the situation in chaos.

"While the district court's absurd ruling will be immediately appealed, Republicans are fully responsible for this cruel decision and for the fear they have struck into millions of families across America who are now in danger of losing their health coverage", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.

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