Federal judge in Texas rules Obamacare unconstitutional; California vows to defend the law on appeal

A federal judge in Texas declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional on Friday, issuing a blockbuster ruling that threatens to throw insurance markets into chaos and strip health coverage from tens of millions of patients nationwide.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor hands a victory to 20 Republican governors and state attorneys general who sued to wipe out the 2010 healthcare law, widely known as Obamacare. But it could create a massive political headache for Republicans in Congress, who lost control of the House in November in large part because Democrats accused them of seeking to undermine the law.

O’Connor, a conservative judge appointed by President George W. Bush, had been widely expected to rule against the law, at least in part. His ruling, however, swept more broadly than many had expected, striking down the entirety of the healthcare law, including its provisions that have allowed California and 31 other states to expand Medicaid to some 15 million Americans and the subsidies that keep insurance affordable for millions of others who do not get healthcare coverage through their jobs.  Read More…