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New Ruling Goes Against Obamacare

Federal appeals court issues a 2-1 ruling
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2019 4:40 PM CST
Court: Big Part of Obamacare Violates the Constitution
In this May 18, 2017 file photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a laptop computer, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – A federal appeals court says the "individual mandate" of former President Barack Obama’s health care law is invalid, but other parts of the law need further review, the AP reports. Wednesday’s 2-1 ruling was handed down by a three-judge panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The panel agreed with Texas-based US District Judge Reed O'Connor's 2018 finding that the law's insurance requirement, the so-called "individual mandate," was rendered unconstitutional when Congress, in 2017, reduced a tax on people without insurance to zero. The court reached no decision on the big issue—how much of the Affordable Care Act must fall along with the insurance mandate.

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"It may still be that none of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate, even after this inquiry is concluded," Elrod wrote. "It may be that all of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate. It may also be that some of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate, and some is not." In dissent, Judge Carolyn Dineen King said her colleagues were prolonging "uncertainty over the future of the healthcare sector." King would have found the mandate constitutional, although unenforceable, and would have left the rest of the law alone.

(Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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