Minnesota governor says Obamacare still 'law of the land,' despite federal judge ruling

December 16, 2018 11:52 AM

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and other top lawmakers in the state said the Affordable Care Act and the state's health insurance marketplace, MNsure, is still intact and is open for business despite a federal judge's ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that last year's tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under 'Obamacare' by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage. The rest of the law cannot be separated from that provision and is therefore invalid, he wrote.

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"Judge O'Connor just went for the full Monty here and said that the entire law is unconstitutional and should be struck," said political analyst Larry Jacobs from the University of Minnesota.

President Donald Trump applauded the ruling, saying in a tweet that it is "great news for America..." but added later that Congress must pass a new health care law that protects Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Calls to appeal the ruling came quickly after news of the decision.

Minnesota Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison tweeted Saturday that he'll "fight with everything" he has "to overturn" the ruling.

Gov. Dayton and officials from MNsure stressed that the ruling has no immediate impact on people who have signed up for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

"Nothing that we're seeing in the ruling prohibits us or gives us pause for how things are going to proceed the rest of this enrollment period," said MNsure CEO Nate Clark in a phone interview Saturday.

Jacobs predicts a lengthy legal battle that could make it all the way up to the Supreme Court.

"Strap in because there's probably going to be big drama in the coming months," Jacobs said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Kirsten Swanson

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