Supreme Court Preserved the Landmark ACA Law, offering Health Insurance to 20 Million PeopleJuly 5, 2021
June 17, 2021, turned out to be a historic day for the health insurance sector, as the Supreme Court of the United States rejected the latest Republican attack on Obamacare, and preserve the landmark law that offers health insurance to 20 million people. The Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 to dismiss a suit that claimed the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional. This suit was brought by Texas and several other states who have been trying hard to dismiss this law since it was enacted in 2010 under Democratic President Barack Obama.
Opponents of this law were taking the help of a Republican-backed 2017 tax change to invalidate the law and making it unconstitutional. The Republicans eliminated the penalty that was imposed for noncompliance with the individual mandate for having health insurance. Thus, led by Texas, the Grand Old Party challengers emphasized that the ACA tax penalty was meant to induce the purchase of health insurance for most Americans. According to them with former President Trump’s 2017 tax cut that eliminated the penalty made ACA unconstitutional.
The case came into existence after 18 Republican states in 2018 legally challenged the Affordable Care Act legality with the intention to strike down the act. They argued that without the tax penalty, the Affordable Care Act lost its constitutional footing so the act should be invalidated by the court. The recent ACA Supreme Court case was the third challenge to the Health Law brought before the High Court since the act was passed in 2010. Though, the court decision was not on whether the law was constitutional or not but whether those bringing the suit had the right to do so or not.
The Court’s opinion was that those challenging the Obamacare law did not have the right to challenge it because they have not been injured by the non-toothless mandate. The court even rejected Texas’ and other states contentions. Though, the lower courts had sided with the Republican states but delayed enforcement of the ruling. The defenders of the ACA law comprise a team of 20 blue states and the Democratic-led House that appealed to the Supreme Court. The Justice Department under Tramp supported Texas and the GOP states urging to strike down the law.
However, the Biden administration reversed course and they recently announced that a record 31 million people were covered under the ACA law. The ACA not just provided coverage to millions of people but also expanded the Medicaid program for the poor, provided consumers with subsidies, created marketplaces to shop for health plans, required health insurance carriers to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and also allow children under age 26 to be covered under their parents’ plans.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority that they did not even address the issue raised by Texas and other plaintiffs as this suit lack the standing necessary to raise them. Frederick Isasi, executive director of the consumer health group Families USA, said that the court’s decision to uphold the ACA will ensure tens of millions of families have real and useful health insurance that provides them access to critical health care services and protects their financial security.