Biden, Obama celebrate Affordable Care Act ruling as a "major victory"

Nellie Chapman
June 18, 2021

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. Four conservative justices would have struck down the entire law in 2012. He called for building further on the law that was enacted in 2010 when he was vice president.

The Republican-led Congress cut the tax penalty for those who lacked insurance to zero as part of the year-end tax overhaul.

The ruling came in a lawsuit by Texas and 17 other Republican-governed states and later joined by Trump's administration.

This decision marks the third time the nation's highest court has considered a significant legal challenge to the ACA-and the third time the justices allowed the law to stand.

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.

But the third major attack on the law at the Supreme Court ended the way the first two did, with a majority of the court rebuffing efforts to gut the law or get rid of it altogether. Kavanaugh and Barrett joined the majority.

Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch were the two dissenting votes.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court that the states and people who filed a federal lawsuit "have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act's minimum essential coverage provision".

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.

On Thursday, the court left the act in place. Plus, some "palace intrigue" discussion about whether Alito was denied his chance to write a majority opinion.

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The court ruled 7-2 that the red states don't have standing to challenge the law's individual mandate. Lower courts had struck down the mandate, in rulings that were wiped away by the Supreme Court decision. "Americans know health coverage can mean the difference between life and death, so families across the country should rest easy tonight knowing their healthcare is safe", said Attorney General Bonta. Improving the ACA appropriately targets providing coverage to the uninsured population, rather than upending the health insurance coverage of most Americans.

"Today's ruling reminds us that Congress needs to return to health reform", Kay C. James, the foundation's president, said in a press release. "Republicans don't seem to have much enthusiasm for continuing to try to overturn the law". Every Republican in Congress voted against it.

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.

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. The Trump administration did take steps to hobble the law. 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.

Biden has pledged to expand healthcare access and buttress Obamacare.

"There is no possible government action that is causally connected to the plaintiff's injury - the costs of purchasing health insurance", the opinion said. More people than ever-31 million-are covered under the ACA through the marketplace or Medicaid. They can not be turned down for coverage on account of health problems, or charged a higher premium.

"ObamaCare was sold on a lie to the American people".

Anyone under the age of 26 who can remain on their parent's health insurance plan.

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