Supreme Court rejects Republican-led challenge to Affordable Care Act

Cheryl Sanders
June 18, 2021

President Biden called Thursday's decision by the Supreme Court to throw out a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act a "major victory for all Americans benefitting from this groundbreaking and life-changing law".

The red states said Congress meant the health care law to work as an integrated whole. They argued that if they expanded Medicaid in MS and the program was dropped by the federal government, the state would be left responsible for providing health insurance to up to 300,000 Mississippians or dropping their coverage.

"The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land", U.S. President Joe Biden, said, celebrating the ruling. Congress rendered that provision irrelevant in 2017 when it reduced the penalty to zero. "Its crown jewel - the individual mandate - was unconstitutional when it was enacted and it is still unconstitutional", Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

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. It was the third such lawsuit rejected by the Supreme Court in recent months. And the fact that even some of the court's committed conservative ideologues (Clarence Thomas) and committed Republicans (Brett M. Kavanaugh) joined the majority in turning back this challenge says a lot about the state of the anti-Obamacare crusade.

In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that - quote - "The ACA imposes many burdensome obligations on states in their capacity as employers. In all three episodes, with the Affordable Care Act facing a serious threat, the Court has pulled off an improbable rescue". Plus, some "palace intrigue" discussion about whether Alito was denied his chance to write a majority opinion.


But on Thursday, the Supreme Court didn't rule on the nature of whether the law was constitutional or not, instead arguing that the plaintiffs lacked the standing to file their legal challenge.

In a vote of 7-2 on Thursday, the justices ruled that challengers lacked legal standing to bring forward the case.

A collection of blue states led by California countered that the rest of the law should be left intact. The law has seen frequent legal challenges over the past decade, resulting in two previous Supreme Court rulings. "Every American's health care has been harmed by Obamacare".

In a press release from health advocacy non-profit Families USA, Frederick Isasi, the organization's executive director, stated that "Hundreds of millions of people with preexisting conditions can sleep soundly tonight, knowing their health care protections won't be ripped away".

"Democrats are in charge and they have made reinvigorating and building on the ACA a key priority", Levitt said. "The issue generally isn't a good one for them with voters - as they learned the hard way after they failed to repeal the ACA in 2017", reported Alayna Treene, Caitlin Owens, and Sarah Mucha. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a doctor and senior member of the Senate Finance Committee who has helped lead repeal efforts in the past.


Ahead of those reactions, the president, who was Obama's vice president when the legislation passed, welcomed the decision in a tweet.

Polling data has shown that Obamacare has become increasing popular among Americans, including Republicans.

One of the reasons state leaders, such as Gov. Tate Reeves, has used for not expanding Medicaid is that there was no assurance, they claimed because of the lawsuits, that the program would remain in place. About 1.2 million people have signed up with HealthCare.gov since Biden reopened enrollment amid high levels of COVID cases earlier this year.

The lawsuit did not prove how the federal government would enforce the mandate. Before the law, going without medical coverage was akin to a rite of passage for people in their 20s getting a start in the world.

Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free. It's considered a preventive benefit covered at no additional cost to the patient.


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