The Texas judge who said this month that core provisions of the Affordable Care Act were unconstitutional decided to halt his decision pending an appeal.
“Because many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal, the court finds that the Dec. 14, 2018, order declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional and inseverable should be stayed,” U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said in a filing Sunday in federal court in Fort Worth.
O’Connor had agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that the Affordable Care Act, the signature healthcare overhaul by President Obama, needed to be eviscerated after Congress in 2017 zeroed out a key provision — the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance.
The ruling cast uncertainty on coverage for millions of Americans at the tail end of open enrollment for the program; the White House said at the time that the ruling would be put on hold during an appeals process that’s destined to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Both the group of Republican states that sued to invalidate Obamacare and the Democrat-controlled states that defended the law urged the judge last week to allow his ruling to be appealed.