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Reed O’Connor: Obamacare unconstitutional ruling stayed pending appeals

December 31, 2018

A federal judge on Sunday said his decision that Obamacare is unconstitutional should be put on ice pending an appeal to higher courts.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, presiding in Texas, said he stands by his belief that Congress’ decision to gut the “individual mandate” penalty for shirking insurance renders the rest of the 2010 law invalid.

However, “because many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal, the court finds that the December 14, 2018 order declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional and inseverable should be stayed,” Judge O’Connor, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote.

More than a dozen blue-state attorneys general had asked the judge to stay the ruling, which struck everything from Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies for private health plans to its expansion of Medicaid and provisions ordering insurers to cover people with preexisting medical conditions.

The fight now pivots to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Experts say the argument from 20 Republican-led states is a long shot, since Congress left the rest of the Affordable Care Act alone when it zeroed out the individual mandate tax last year.

Yet Judge O’Connor said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was clear in 2012, when he said the law’s goodies ran in conjunction with the mandate.

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