A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the US health care law known as Obamacare is unconstitutional -- a ruling that opposition Democrats quickly vowed to appeal.
US District Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling came on the eve of the Saturday deadline to sign up for 2019 coverage in the federal health care program, known officially as the Affordable Care Act.
The White House said it expects the case to be appealed to the Supreme Court. "Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place," it said in a statement.
At the US Supreme Court, five justices in the nine-judge court who voted to uphold Obamacare in a separate case in 2012 are still on the bench.
Conservative Republicans have long opposed President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare plan which he signed into law in 2010.
President Donald Trump made abolishing the program one of his main campaign pledges.
The Texas-based judge said that the full Obamacare program was unconstitutional because in last year’s tax overhaul, Congress eliminated a penalty for people who failed to sign up for the program if they did not already have their own health insurance.
Angry Democrats vowed to fight back as they blamed Republicans for what they see as a debacle that will leave millions of Americans without healthcare.