WASHINGTON — Just as Americans were signing up for healthcare before Saturday’s Affordable Care Act deadline, a federal judge was throwing the entire system’s future into question. On Friday, that judge ruled the A.C.A. unconstitutional.
A day later, President Donald Trump hailed the decision.
“It’s big ruling, great ruling for our country. Be able to get great healthcare. Sitting down with Dems and we will get great healthcare for our people.”
The issue – what’s known as the individual mandate. It’s a law requiring people to have health insurance and penalizing them if they don’t. But about a year ago President Trump signed the tax overhaul bill into law which eliminated that penalty.
That paved the way for a lawsuit that argued no tax penalty should mean no Obamacare. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Conner sided with that argument.
On Sunday Senator Chuck Schumer called the judge’s decision “devastating.”
“The good news is that the judge seemed way off the deep end and I am going to ask senators – Democrats and Republicans – to intervene in the case when it is appealed and say that the judge is completely off base.”
At the moment, nothing changes for those who are insured under the A.C.A. The program will remain intact while its future continues to weave its way through the courts. It’s a process that could take from several months to several years.