Published: Fri, June 18, 2021

US Supreme Court rejects Trump-backed challenge to Obamacare

US Supreme Court rejects Trump-backed challenge to Obamacare

The 7-2 ruling declared on Thursday that Texas and other challengers had no legal standing to file their lawsuit seeking to nullify a law, formally called the Affordable Care Act, that has enabled millions of Americans to obtain medical coverage either through public programs or private insurers. Justice Stephen Breyer noted that the individual mandate was effectively unenforceable without an attached penalty and therefore did not cause harm.

"Yet", he added, "seven justices chose to avoid the question of the constitutionality by limiting its decision to a ruling on standing".

The Republican-led states supported by the Trump administration sued, arguing that since the mandate was no longer tied to a specific tax penalty, it had lost its legal underpinning. "Because of the law, they are able to get free preventive screenings that can save their lives and improve their health", he said in a statement.

Noting the current Supreme Court's even more conservative makeup than during past challenges, Isasi added that the court's "strong opinion will nearly certainly foreclose other craven, ideological lawsuits". Mr Biden also encouraged more Americans to use Obamacare to obtain coverage.

Polls show that the law has grown in popularity as it has endured the heaviest assault.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who led the challenge, vowed to continue to fight Obamacare. Second, was the penalty-less individual mandate unconstitutional?


Former President Barack Obama made a point to emphasize that this isn't the first time the high court has upheld his presidency's landmark legislation, which Republicans have sought to dismantle for years.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act argued that because the penalty is now $0, the provision in the law that requires everyone to buy insurance is no longer valid.

The big picture: The makeup of the court became much more conservative during the Trump presidency, thanks in part to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refusing to give Obama nominee Merrick Garland a vote in 2016. For the states involved in the lawsuit, the harm raised by states of the individual mandate's role in their residents enrolling in state programs like Medicaid, was not proven.

Twenty states including Democratic-governed California and NY and the Democratic-led House of Representatives intervened in the case to try to preserve Obamacare after Mr Trump had refused to defend the law. Gorsuch was in dissent, signing on to an opinion from Justice Samuel Alito. Justice Alito called the decision an example of "judicial inventiveness" and labelled the individual mandate "clearly unconstitutional".

Republicans fiercely opposed Obamacare when it was proposed, failed to repeal it when they controlled both chambers of Congress and have been unsuccessful in getting courts to invalidate the law. In December 2016, just before Obama left office and Trump swept in calling the ACA a "disaster", 46% of Americans had an unfavorable view of the law, while 43% approved, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett sided with the majority, while Gorsuch was the lone Trump-appointed justice that dissented. 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. Biden and other Democrats had criticised Republican efforts to strike down the law at a time when the United States was grappling with a deadly coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court reverses the lower court's ruling on the individual mandate.

Opposition to Obamacare seems to have receded as a political issue for Republicans as the party has emphasized other matters such as immigration, voting restrictions and hot-button cultural issues. A federal judge in Texas agreed, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld that ruling.

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