A federal judge in the US state of Texas on Saturday struck down the Affordable Care Act. US District Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with arguments by several states, led by Texas, which said that the Barack Obama-era law cannot stand because there is now no penalty for Americans who do not buy insurance, NBC News reported.
In 2012, the Supreme Court had upheld the law, by classifying it as a tax. Chief Justice John Roberts made the casting vote to maintain the legislation.
The United States Congress had in 2017 removed the individual obligation to purchase insurance. O’Connor said this meant “Obamacare” could no longer be constitutional. “The individual mandate is essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the Affordable Care Act,” the judge wrote.
However, the White House said that the ruling is likely to be appealed in the Supreme Court, and therefore the Act will remain in force for now.
In July 2017, the US Senate voted against a scaled-down legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. No Democrat voted for the bill, while veteran Republican John McCain, along with Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, joined the Democrats to vote against the legislation.
President Donald Trump celebrated Saturday’s judgement. “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!” he tweeted. “Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch [McConnell] and Nancy [Pelosi], get it done!