Supreme Court rejects Republican challenge to Affordable Care Act

  • Supreme Court rejects Republican challenge to Affordable Care Act

Supreme Court rejects Republican challenge to Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, the public health care system signed into law by President Barack Obama, survived a legal challenge Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled that it can not be struck down on the basis of the elimination of the individual mandate.

The court ruled 7-2, with Justice Stephen Breyer writing for the majority, striking down a lower court ruling, saying the plaintiffs - Texas and 17 other GOP-led states - did not have standing to sue. Under President Obama, the law forced those who did not carry health insurance to pay a tax penalty.

Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas ruled on December 14, 2018, that the Obamacare law was unconstitutional in its entirety, but stayed enforcement during the appeals process.

President Joe Biden's administration in February urged the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare, reversing the position taken by the government under Trump, who left office in January.

After Texas and other states sued, a coalition of 20 states including Democratic-governed California and NY and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives intervened in the case to try to preserve Obamacare after Trump refused to defend the law. A coalition of 20 states including Democratic-governed California and NY and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives intervened in the case to try to preserve Obamacare after Trump refused to defend the law. As a result, today's ruling is a step forward for millions of Americans and Californians who rely on the ACA for their care.

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the ruling.

From the Senate floor, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY celebrated the fact "the ACA is here to stay". "And they do not claim that they might enjoin Congress", he continued. "For more than a decade, the assault on our health care law was relentless from Republicans in Congress, from the executive branch itself and from Republican attorneys general in the courts".

The closest Republicans got was in the summer of 2017, when they controlled both the House and the Senate and had President Donald Trump in the White House.

Justice Alito's lengthy dissent (in which Justice Neil Gorsuch joined) nearly playfully refers to the case as "the third installment in our epic Affordable Care Act trilogy" - in which "the Court is presented with the daunting problem of a "tax" that does not tax".

The Supreme Court in 2012 and 2015 also fended off previous Republican challenges to Obamacare.

Facing questions from Sen.

As originally enacted in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as the Obamacare law, required most Americans to obtain minimum essential health insurance coverage, Breyer wrote for the court.

Biden has pledged to expand healthcare access and buttress Obamacare. He and other Democrats had criticized Republican efforts to strike down the law at a time when the US was grappling with a deadly coronavirus pandemic. There is broad public support for its requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing health conditions. His giant COVID-19 relief bill significantly increased subsidies for private health plans offered through the ACA's insurance markets, while also dangling higher federal payments before the dozen states that have declined the law's Medicaid expansion.

Texas and other Republican-leaning states, backed by the Trump administration, sought to strike down the law on technical arguments after Congress reduced to zero the tax penalty for failing to carry health insurance.

Roberts cast the key vote in a 5-4 decision that stunned Republicans, holding that the law's individual coverage mandate was valid under Congress' taxing power.

"The principle of universal coverage has been established", Obama said in a statement.