SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was declared unconstitutional Friday by a federal judge in Texas and Bay Area politicians quickly denounced the ruling.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said on Twitter Friday evening, “Tonight’s absurd ruling exposes the monstrous endgame of the GOP’s all-out assault on people w/ pre-existing conditions & the ACA.”
Pelosi suggested the ruling will be appealed immediately.
Pelosi added that when Democrats in the House of Representatives “take the gavel, the House will swiftly intervene in the appeals process to ProtectOurCare!”
In January, Democrats will have the majority of the seats in the House, following this past November’s elections.
The ruling comes on the eve of the final day of a six-week open enrollment period. According to Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the ruling did not come as a surprise.
“Thought it was going to happen” Lee said, adding, “It’s unfortunate it’s right here in the middle of enrollment when a lot of Californians are making the decision to sign up. But they should still sign up!”
Lee believes this is just the next step in the legal battle to protect the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers have taken to Twitter vowing to fight the ruling.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said, “The GOP obsession with depriving people of healthcare is simply bizarre.” Wiener called on people to make sure the ruling does not hold up if it’s appealed.
California Gov. Jerry Brown said on Twitter Friday evening, “California will vigorously fight this wanton and cruel action.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, “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 healthcare for all Americans.”
Becerra said a coalition will fight the ruling in court.
Judge Reed O’Connor, who handed down today’s decision, did not grant an injunction in the case, according to Becerra’s office.
President Trump applauded the decision on Twitter Friday night, writing that he had “predicted all along” that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. “Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!” Mr. Trump wrote.
KPIX political reporter Melissa Caen believes this case will most likely be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Until then, those enrolled in Obamacare shouldn’t be worried about their health coverage. “I’m not saying everything is going to be OK but don’t panic by this one decision by one district court judge in Texas,” Caen said.
If the case were to reach the Supreme Court it would mark the third time the justices consider a challenge to fundamental provisions of the law. “Obamacare” opponents lost both the first two cases.
The five justices who upheld the health law in 2012 in the first major case — Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberals — are all still serving.
Since then public opinion on the ACA has shifted from mostly negative to generally favorable.
Preserving the law’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions proved to be a strong argument for Democrats in the midterm elections. Republicans who tried to undermine those safeguards during their failed effort to repeal the health law last year were forced on the defensive and went on record saying they, too, want to make sure people with health problems can get coverage.
Democrats set to take control of the House in January are talking about passing legislation that enshrines protections for pre-existing conditions. It’s unclear what form that would take, or if the Republican-majority Senate would go along and Trump would sign it.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. KPIX 5’s Andrea Nakano, Bay City News and the Associated Press contributed to this report