Federal judge in Texas strikes down Affordable Care Act

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A federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act on Friday night, ruling that former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation has fallen down like a losing game of “Jenga.”

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth sided with the argument put forward by a coalition of Republican-leaning states, led by Texas, that Obamacare could no longer stand now that there’s no penalty for Americans who don’t buy insurance.

The U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the law in 2012, by classifying the legislation as a tax. But since Congress removed the individual mandate in 2017, O’Connor ruled, there’s no way the ACA can be allowed to stand.

States who fought the Republican effort to undercut the ACA vowed to keep fighting. An appeal is expected soon.

“Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA for healthcare, and on America’s faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans,” California Attorney General Becerra said in a statement Friday night.

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