Trump pushes Congress for new health law after court ruling

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

After a federal judge ruled that the Obama-era health overhaul was "invalid," President Donald Trump is looking to congressional leaders to come up with a replacement even as the White House says the current law will remain in place for now.

"Get it done!" the president instructed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the likely House speaker in January.

In a 55-page opinion Friday, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas ruled that last year's tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under the Affordable Care Act by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage. He wrote that the rest of the law cannot be separated from that provision and therefore was invalid.

The ruling came after a lawsuit filed this year by a group of GOP governors and state attorneys general, whose aim is to dismantle the Obama-era legislation.

Supporters of the law said they would appeal. "Today's misguided ruling will not deter us: Our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading a coalition of states defending the overhaul.

News 12 Connecticut’s Frank Recchia visited a Bridgeport family, who says they were horrified by the possibility of endangering the health care benefits for millions of Americans.

Juan Martinez and his wife Maria are both diabetics, and they say the coverage that they have through the Affordable Care Act is something they literally cannot live without.

Martinez says he and his wife both rely upon the legislation to get medical treatment for their pre-existing conditions, a major sticking point that Republicans have attacked in condemning the 2010 landmark healthcare law.

State Sen. Dennis Bradley says many constituents who fall into the same category have contacted him since the ruling to express their fear about what would happen if the Obama-era legislation is ultimately dismantled.

"To say that because you have this pre-existing condition, we're just going to allow you to die because you can't afford healthcare,” he says. “That's just un-American."

While congressional Republicans held their silence in reaction to the ruling, Democrats said they would test the GOP's commitment to such popular provisions.

"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."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal says that while the ruling is a potential death blow to the Affordable Care Act, the incoming Democratic House will fight the move come January both in Congress and in the courts.

About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the law passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote. Currently, about 10 million have subsidized private insurance through the health law's insurance markets, while an estimated 12 million low-income people are covered through its Medicaid expansion.

Saturday was the sign-up deadline for 2019 private plans through HealthCare.gov. Meanwhile, a number of states are expected to move forward with Medicaid expansion after Democratic victories in the midterm elections.

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. The law's 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.

AP Wires contributed to this report.

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