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Appeals court rules individual mandate in Obamacare unconstitutional

The ruling likely leaves the fate of the legislation unknown until after the election

Mark Makela/Getty Images

A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the individual mandate in Obamacare is unconstitutional.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans handed down the ruling but did not decide on whether that would invalidate the rest of the legislation, and instead remanded the case to a Texas judge to decide.

The 2-1 ruling was made by Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod and Judge Kurt Engelhardt, with Judge Carolyn Dineen King dissenting.

Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, was passed in 2010 and was considered the signature legislative accomplishment of the first term in the Obama administration.

A consequence of the ruling is that the Supreme Court will not need to consider the case, as it must first go to a lower court. That will push the final fate of the law beyond the date of the 2020 election.

President Donald Trump promised to repeal Obamacare as part of his 2016 campaign, but Republicans failed to garner the votes for a repeal in 2017.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) praised the ruling in a tweet on Wednesday.

"Obamacare has failed to live up to its promises," he tweeted.

"This ruling highlights the need to modernize and personalize health care for every American," he added. "Republicans are focused on protecting people with pre-existing conditions and lowering the cost of care."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra decried the decision, saying, "For now, the President got the gift he wanted — uncertainty in the healthcare system and a pathway to repeal — so that the healthcare that seniors, workers and families secured under the Affordable Care Act can be yanked from under them."

Here's more about the ruling:

Appeals Court Rules ACA's Individual Mandate Unconstitutional www.youtube.com

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