ACA gets the boot; now, get ready for the appeals

A U.S. district judge has booted out the Affordable Care Act, calling a key element to it unconstitutional.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the U.S. Supreme Court already has upheld the ACA, which has withstood repeated Republican-led challenges in Congress and the courts.

The anti-ACA ruling came today from Judge Reed O’Connor, who presides on the federal court for the Northern District of Texas; O’Connor is based in Fort Worth.

He said the individual mandate of the law violates the Constitution because “it cannot be separated from the rest of the law.” His ruling, therefore, means the entire ACA must be scrapped.

Democrats, quite naturally, are going to appeal this ruling.

I won’t disparage Judge O’Connor. I will stipulate, though, that the Supreme Court has heard arguments already on the ACA and has voted to uphold it. Has the court’s ideological balance changed so drastically that it would reverse what it already has ruled? Not likely.

My sincere hope is that the law known as Obamacare withstands the challenge that continues to mount. Millions of Americans already have enrolled in health insurance under the ACA. Rulings such as the one handed down by Judge O’Connor shouldn’t jeopardize Americans’ ability to obtain health insurance.

Indeed, Republican and Democratic legal scholars believe the ACA is likely to survive despite the judge’s ruling.

Let us hope that’s the case.

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