"I will not stop until I have done all I can to protect the millions of Virginians who have benefitted from the ACA, which is why I intervened in this lawsuit in the first place", said Attorney General Herring. However, it could eventually become the third major Obamacare case to reach the Supreme Court.
As the appeals process proceeds, the law remains in effect.
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor, presiding in Texas, ruled December 14 that Congress' decision to gut the "individual mandate" tax for shirking insurance rendered the rest of the 2010 law invalid.
White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the ruling will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court and that it is possible that the law will not be repealed. But the fact that Republicans remain in control of the Senate may thwart such any such effort, and it nearly certainly would be vetoed by President Trump if it did clear Congress. The Trump Administration chose not to defend the ACA in the Texas federal court after 19 states filed their constitutional challenge there.
"That is, I think, why we saw the bump", he said, "those last-minute people signing up afterward". But California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading the opponents to the decision, and other coalition members heaped barbed words on the ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, contending that his opinion is "reckless", "ludicrous" and based on a legal theory that is "flimsy", as various attorneys general put it.
Democratic state attorneys general defending the health law announced Thursday that they have formally launched their appeal of O'Connor's ruling.
"Take a look at the amicus briefs that have been filed already in this case", Becerra said, citing support form provider and consumer advocacy groups.
Yet Judge O'Connor said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was clear in 2012, when he said the law's benefits and consumer protections ran in conjunction with the mandate.
For now, the attorneys general are focused on a win in the Fifth Circuit Court.
Obamacare also offers subsidies that help low- and middle-income people afford health insurance and significantly funds the expansion of Medicaid coverage to people who previously were not eligible for that health coverage program.
Rosenblum emphasized the separation of powers between the court case and congressional action, but said the attorneys general look forward to checking in with the newly elected Congress. Since his ruling is now on hold, though, every provision of the law will remain intact during the appeal process, except the financial penalty requirement; that penalty ended as of January 1, under a law passed by Congress in 2017, and the validity of that is not directly at issue in the case now.