On Tuesday November 10th, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in California v. Texas, the third time the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), also known as Obamacare, has come before the nation’s high court.
The Texas-led challenge, including a coalition of 18 other Republican states, argued the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and that the ACA should be struck down in its entirety. The ACA, which was signed into law by then President Obama in March 2010, offers benefits to about 21 million Americans.
Two of the conservative justices, Chief Justice Roberts and President Trump appointee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, during the hearing seemed inclined not to strike the ACA entirely, but perhaps simply sever the mandate provision. If this ultimately occurs, and joined with the 3 more liberal justices, the ACA will again survive.
President Trump and Republicans in Congress have been frequent critics of the ACA, pledging for years to “repeal and replace” the ACA. To date, all attempts have been unsuccessful. Many have posited that the act can be repaired and bolstered to expand coverage, and even perhaps modify the Medicare age eligibility requirement for people who are not old enough for Medicare.
All eyes will be on the new Biden administration and its approach to “fixing” the ACA, as well as the high court and its decision, which is expected before the end of the current term in June 2021.
Health Care Legal Advisor