The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the latest action on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as ObamaCare. A judge in Texas ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional due to action taken by Republicans.
It seems that Republicans set the stage for this ruling when they passed a budget that eliminated the tax penalty for people who do not purchase insurance. The Supreme Court ruled Obamacare constitutional in the first place by claiming that a fee was actually a tax and Congress had constitutional power to tax. When Congress eliminated the tax mandate in Obamacare, the entire law became unconstitutional.
Texas and nineteen other states realized that the tax mandate was important in making Obamacare constitutional. They argued that once Congress did away with the mandate, they undermined the constitutionality of the ACA. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with the States and ruled Obamacare unconstitutional after the Republicans passed a budget cutting out the tax penalty for those who did not purchase insurance.
The remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate – meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole.
There are questions about whether or not the Republicans knew that the budget would eliminate Obamacare. Maybe they read the bill, and maybe they did not. For the present time, Obamacare has been ruled unconstitutional. However, there is a stay on any action about eliminating it, and the case will probably go to the Supreme Court.
No one knows how the justices will vote. After all, most people thought that Obamacare was dead the first time it went to the Supreme Court. Americans knew that the government could not constitutionally force citizens to purchase anything. When Chief Justice John Roberts ruled the mandate as a tax, the law became constitutional because Congress can call for taxes. Now the constitutionality of Obamacare will go to the Supreme Court again. If the lower court ruling stands, the Affordable Care Act is finally dead.