Judge orders Obamacare stay in effect during appeal

Judge who struck down Affordable Care Act rules law can stay in place during appeal process

Judge who struck down Affordable Care Act rules law can stay in place during appeal process

Ken Paxton, Texas' Republican attorney general considered the architect of the lawsuit to defeat Obamacare, said on Sunday that his office is "eager to defend" last month's federal judge's ruling that declared the 2010 law unconstitutional.

O'Connor had ruled that the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional because Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty by reducing it to $0.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor broadly upheld his initial December 14 ruling, but said Americans would face great uncertainty during the appeal without a stay. However, he did not issue an injunction to stop federal and state governments from enforcing the law.

The invalidation of the law threw the future of health coverage for millions of Americans on the ACA exchanges and in Medicaid expansion into doubt. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!

"If the judicial power encompasses ignoring unambiguous enacted text-the text citizens read to know what their representatives have done-to approximate what a judge believes Congress meant to do, but did not, then policymaking lies in the hands of unelected judges and Congress may transfer politically unwinnable issues to the bench", O'Connor said.

Although the Trump administration is not defending the Affordable Care Act, officials immediately said the law remains in place while the appeal process plays out.

Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.

Following O'Connor's ruling, 17 attorneys general pledged that they would appeal the decision and also asked the judge to issue an order clarifying that Obamacare must be enforced at the federal and state level while the case goes to a higher court.

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