GOP Reducing Mandate Fee Led to Ruling ACA was Unconstitutional

Republicans reduced the fee for not having coverage to zero, then took the ACA to court charging the mandate was illegal, then won because the fee was reduced to zero.

Let me say that again in a bit more detail:

The reason the ACA was ruled constitutional in a 2012 Supreme Court Case was because the constitutionality of the individual mandate to have coverage or pay a fee relied on that fee being a tax.

Congress has the power to tax, so the mandate was constitutional.

The mandate was constitutional, and so there was no room to declare the rest of the law unconstitutional. 

The ACA won 2012 (although the mandate for Medicaid expansion took a hit).

However, Republicans in congress reduced the penalty for not having coverage to zero dollars as part of the tax overhaul that President Trump signed last December.

That means there is effectively no federal tax.

Without a tax, the argument from 2012 is weakened and it leaves the ACA vulnerable. 

That vulnerable was then attacked by the Republicans using the legal system. First 20 Republican led states led by Texas banded together in a lawsuit charging that the mandate was illegal.

The federal government, Trump and his HHS, refused to defend the ACA (it is common practice for the administration in power to defend their own laws).

Republicans, with no administration to oppose them, were able to get their case heard…. in front of a Texas judge.

Judge O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, took the setup and gave the Republicans what they have loudly stated they wanted for years.

The judge ruled the mandate wasn’t legal, because there was effectively no tax, and then went a step further ruling that thus the whole ACA was unconstitutional.

If that sounds absurd to you, then you’ll understand why many ACA supporters feel confident the ACA will win its appeal when liberal states fight back by appealing the decision.

The moral: When Republicans could not get a repeal and replace plan passed in Congress they vowed to “repeal and replace by other means.” This is what they meant, like they have done since day 1 with the ACA, Republicans have circumvented the legislative system, using the judicial (since day 1) and executive (since Trump took office) to break ObamaCare.

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele is the head writer and founder of,, and other websites. He has been in the health insurance and healthcare information field since 2012. is a...

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I’m no Republican but I agree that like most laws, the ACA is unconstitutional. We have corrupt elites manipulating a thoroughly unjust set of global economies that for the most part allows a small minority of historically wealthy families to exploit the rest of the people and animals of this beautiful and generous planet. Sadly, no set of laws or regulations can fix what is ultimately an unjust and unsustainable culture of shallow selfish consumerism and cruelty. I agree with one of the comments presented above; it does sound absurd… all of it… completely absurd. Thank you anyway for trying to make the world a less miserable place. At least you care, and don’t feel completely powerless, and those two qualities are important. So keep up the good work, or at least your efforts. And thank you for reading this comment


The mandate was unconstitutional tax or no tax; the ruling confirming that should be instant ( not mandated for 2018) In fact considering O-Bama was NOT eligible to be president any law enforcement by him should be null and void in the first place.


Forcing people to choose between buying health insurance or paying a fine is no choice at all. The unaffordable care act is unconstitutional. All the aca has done for my family and the families of every person that I know is raise costs and reduce coverage. I have yet to meet anyone that wants government controled death care. Obamacare is horrible!

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