America’s new-look conservative-leaning US Supreme Court looks set to rule next year whether to overturn Barack Obama’s flagship Obamacare policy. The highest court in America is expected to consider Mr Obama’s signature political legacy after a judge in Texas declared it unconstitutional. Donald Trump, who tipped the balance in the court with controversial appointments, called the Texas ruling “Great news for America!” and said Obamacare was an “unconstitutional disaster”. In Texas, Judge Reed O’Connor delivered his 55-page ruling on the eve of the deadline for Americans to sign up for 2019 health insurance coverage under Obamacare. Republicans have long opposed the health care system, officially introduced by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. President Barack Obama at his final press conference in January 2017 Credit: AFP Mr Trump made abolishing the programme one of his main campaign pledges in 2016, but an attempt to repeal it in Congress failed last year. Judge O’Connor said changes to the law introduced by Mr Trump’s overhaul of the tax system in 2017 had affected the legality of Obamacare. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated Obamacare’s so-called “individual mandate” under which people who failed to sign up and pay for health insurance were subjected to a fine. Judge O’Connor ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act should now be struck down because the individual mandate had been the “keystone” of the programme. The law will remain in place pending an appeal process which is expected to reach the Supreme Court next year. Obamacare has been considered twice by the court before, in 2012 and 2015, and opponents lost. However, this will be the first time that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the new conservative Supreme Court justice nominated by Mr Trump this year, will have an input. Brett Kavanaugh at his Senate confirmation hearing in September Credit: AP Five judges on the nine-strong court who voted for Obamacare previously are still in place. The case in Texas was brought by the administrations of 20 Republican US states, and opposed by a host of Democrat states. Nancy Pelosi, the incoming Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, said the ruling “exposes the monstrous endgame of Republicans’ all-out assault” on people seeking affordable healthcare. She said: “This absurd ruling will be immediately appealed. Republicans are fully responsible for this cruel decision.”
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