"The Court ... declares the Individual Mandate ... unconstitutional", District Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his decision.
Although Democratic attorneys general, lawmakers, and policy analysts have repeatedly maintained that the TCJA zeroed out the penalty rather than eliminated it, O'Connor disagreed.
"Once the heart of the ACA - the individual mandate - is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA must also fall", the lawsuit said.
Twenty Republican-led states had argued the Supreme Court cast Obamacare as a package deal, with the mandate to hold insurance - or else pay a tax - tethered to the law's goodies. They contended that overturning the law would throw millions off health insurance rolls by reversing Medicaid expansion, ending tax credits that help people and empowering insurers to once again deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
"Today's decision is an unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections and other policies that have extended health insurance coverage to millions of Americans", said Dr. Barbara L. McAneny, president of the American Medical Association.
'The Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause - meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional, ' the judge wrote.
A federal judge in Texas ruled President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act "invalid" Friday, the eve of the sign-up deadline for coverage next year. There is no reason to not sign up while the implications of the judge's ruling are tested. However, the Trump administration sided with Texas et all.
Google Has ‘No Plans’ to Launch Censored Search Engine in China - CEO
Google is facing fallback over its intentions for Project Dragonfly, a censored search engine in China. Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.
President Trump, who lambasted his own party for failing to repeal and replace the law as promised, applauded the decision. The health law was passed in 2010.
O'Connor's ruling comes one day ahead of when Obamacare's marketplaces will close for most of the country's open enrollment period. "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 ACA.
Because the administration would not defend the law, California, joined by 16 other Democratic states, stepped in.
Legal expert Timothy Jost, a supporter of the health law, said O'Connor's ruling would have repercussions for almost all Americans if it stands.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act could lead to about 15 million people losing their health insurance coverage, according to Ana Gupte, a Wall Street analyst at Leerink Partners.
It is unclear what will happen to the law's many provisions until an appeal reaches the Supreme Court. And yet, Republicans have made it clear that their priority is attacking access to critically-needed health care, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and insurance for young people.