Wall Street, Congress react to federal judge ruling Obamacare unconstitutional

Washington — There was fallout on Wall Street on Monday following a Texas judge's ruling that the Affordable Care Act is "unconstitutional" and should be thrown out. The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by 18 Republican state attorneys general.

Health care stocks tumbled after the Friday ruling as more than a dozen states vowed to appeal.

"We have never faced as imminent a threat to the health of our people as we face right now," said Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

If upheld, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of Texas would eliminate all of Obamacare's provisions — including Medicaid expansion, protections for preexisting conditions and the ability of children to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

"This decision is devastating. the good news is that the judge seemed way off the deep end," Sen. Chuck Schumer said.

O'Connor declared Friday the individual mandate requiring all Americans to buy insurance is unconstitutional, meaning the "remaining provisions" in the Affordable Care Act are "therefore invalid" — even though Congress essentially eliminated the individual mandate last year.

"Well, it was a big ruling, a great ruling for our country," President Trump said over the weekend.

Mr. Trump, whose administration has taken several steps to undermine Obamacare, argued the case will pave the way for something better.

"We will get great, great healthcare for our people. We'll have to sit down with the Democrats to do it but I'm sure they want to do it also," he said.

The case could wind up at the Supreme Court. So for now, nothing changes for the 20 million people who rely on the law, like Alta Alger of Austin, who was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago.

"I was actually in the hospital when my sisters helped sign me up for Obamacare. I couldn't even do that myself at the time. and that's the only reason I was able to get coverage," Alger said.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the House is going to intervene in the appeals process as soon as her party takes control of the House in January. The House has legal resources it can use to fight this decision in the courts. Democrats believe their focus on health care is the reason they won 40 seats in November, so this is a fight they say they are happy to have.

  • Nancy Cordes On Twitter»

    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.