The controversial universal health care law known as Obamacare suffered another devastating blow on Wednesday when a lower court struck down its individual mandate provision, The Daily Caller reports.
The decision came from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, by a vote of two to one. The ruling determined that the individual mandate was no longer constitutional after the 2017 tax cut law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, set the cost of the mandate at zero. Thus, since the mandate is not generating revenue, there is no legal defense of the mandate as a tax.
Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, was controversially passed in 2010 on a party-line vote with no support from Republicans, back when Democrats had control of both houses of Congress. Then-President Barack Obama infamously claimed that the individual mandate, requiring all Americans to either buy into the healthcare law or else pay a fine, was not a tax.
However, when the law faced its first significant challenge in the Supreme Court, the mandate was ultimately determined to be constitutional under the provisions of taxation. This ruling, while determining that the mandate could stay, remained a significant stain on Obama’s legacy as one of the greatest lies he ever told as president.
After the Republican Congress failed to repeal Obamacare outright in the summer of 2017, a provision of the tax cut law later that same year repealed the individual mandate as an additional blow to the law without repealing it. It was anticipated that the repeal of the individual mandate would eventually lead to a new judicial ruling such as this one.
For the time being, the case goes back down to U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, who first struck down the mandate in 2018. O’Connor is now tasked with determining whether or not “the mandate can be separated from the rest of” the law. If it cannot be separated, then the entire law may be struck down, in which case it would eventually go back to the Supreme Court for another showdown.