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Obamacare Ruling Attracts Little Comment From Republicans

Some legal observers believe Congress is unlikely to pass a new law while the case is in the courts.

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A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in the San Ysidro district of San Diego,Calif., Oct. 26, 2017. VOA

Republican lawmakers have been mostly silent on Friday’s court ruling that the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. Democrats, however, have said they’ll hold the GOP to its commitment to retain popular provisions of the law, such as guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing health conditions.

“The GOP spent all last year pretending to support people with pre-existing conditions while quietly trying to remove that support in the courts,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a tweet Saturday. “Next year, we will force votes to expose their lies.”

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House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California holds a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 13, 2018. VOA

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who will assume the speaker’s role next year, said the House “will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the lifesaving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republican effort to destroy” the law.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas ruled Friday that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire ACA. The decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the ACA will remain the law during the appeal.

U.S. President Donald Trump had promised during his presidential campaign to dismantle the ACA, a program that made affordable health insurance available to millions of Americans.

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Protesters gather across the Chicago River from Trump Tower to rally against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, March 24, 2017, in Chicago. VOA

‘Great news’

The president took to Twitter Friday night: “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the judge’s decision “vindicates President Trump’s position that Obamacare is unconstitutional. Once again, the President calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with pre-existing conditions and provide Americans with quality, affordable health care.”

Americans with pre-existing conditions, before ACA, faced either high premiums or an inability to access health insurance at all.

Schumer said in a statement Friday that the ruling “seems to be based on faulty legal reasoning, and hopefully it will be overturned. Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law.”

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A person walks by a health care insurance office in Hialeah, Fla. VOA

 

“Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the leader of an alliance of states opposing the lawsuit, said in a statement Friday. “Our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and well-being for all Americans.”

New law unlikely for now

Some legal observers believe Congress is unlikely to pass a new law while the case is in the courts. Many senior Republican lawmakers have said they did not plan to also strike down provisions such as pre-existing condition coverage when they repealed the law’s fines for people who can afford coverage but remain uninsured.

Also Read: Obamacare Unconstitutional: U.S. Federal Judge

If the case reaches the Supreme Court, it would be the third time the high court considers a challenge to ACA provisions. The law’s opponents lost the first two cases.

Polls have regularly shown wide public support for the guarantee of health insurance coverage regardless of pre-existing health conditions, an issue Democrats successfully leveraged in last month’s midterm elections to win control of the House of Representatives. (VOA)

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Democrats Stand Firm Against Donald Trump’s Exchange Offer

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said Democrats should not "reward the kind of behaviour of hostage-taking"

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President Donald Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine, Jan 17, 2019, at the Pentagon. VOA

Despite President Donald Trump’s offer to end the ongoing partial government shutdown and fund a border wall in exchange for temporary protections for groups of immigrants, Democrats stood by their demand to reopen the government before negotiating about the border.

“Let’s not hold the American people, especially the federal workers, hostage to these negotiations,” South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, a member of Democratic leadership, told Fox News on Sunday.

“And hopefully we will open with what he has put on the table, and let’s go back and forth on this and see where we can find common ground.”

The Democratic rejection came as Vice President Mike Pence made clear on Sunday that the Republicans intended to go forward with the plan the President outlined on Saturday during a 13-minute televised speech from the White House, CNN reported.

Trump has suggested extending protections for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme recipients for three years and a three-year extension of protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

The shutdown that began on December 22, has left roughly a quarter of the government closed and forcing 800,000 federal employees furloughed or work without pay.

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Trump presses Democrats on border wall funding ahead of Senate meeting. VOA

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected it even before Trump spoke. On Sunday, the President took to Twitter to slam Pelosi for rejecting his deal.

“Nancy Pelosi and some of the Democrats turned down my offer yesterday (Saturday) before I even got up to speak. They don’t see crime and drugs, they only see 2020 – which they are not going to win. Best economy! They should do the right thing for the country and allow people to go back to work.

“No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a three year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy,” he said in a series of tweets.

Some other Democrat leaders have also slammed the President’s offer.

Also Read- Actress Manisha Koirala Hopes to Write More Books in Future

New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who entered the 2020 race just days ago, told CNN on Sunday that Trump’s offer of only temporary protection from deportation showed he “has no empathy” for people affected by the decision.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said Democrats should not “reward the kind of behaviour of hostage-taking”.

Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, meanwhile, told CNN that “both sides” were responsible for the ongoing impasse and called for genuine negotiations. (IANS)