Supreme Court shoots down latest Republican challenge to ObamaCare
The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act brought by a group of Republican-led states and the former Trump administration, preserving healthcare coverage for millions of Americans.
The 7-2 decision in California v. Texas – with Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissenting – ruled that there is no harm from the law, passed in 2010, because Congress has reduced the penalty for failing to buy health insurance to zero.
The lawsuit sought to dismantle the entire ACA, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, public health investments, and Medicaid expansion, among others.
“For these reasons, we conclude that the plaintiffs in this suit failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants’ conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority decision. “They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act’s minimum essential coverage provision.”
Thirty-one million Americans have health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, including 11.3 million people enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges and 14.8 million newly-eligible, low-income people enrolled in Medicaid expansion.
The Supreme Court decision to uphold the ACA means 642,000 Virginians keep their healthcare coverage and 3.4 million Virginians with pre-existing conditions will keep their protections.
“Today’s decision is a massive win for every single Virginian and every single American. This lawsuit was no more than a thinly veiled political attack from the start, forcing millions to live in fear that their healthcare could be ripped away from them at any moment,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who was part of a 21-member coalition of state attorneys general that defended the healthcare law in front of the Supreme Court.
“It is unconscionable that Trump and his Republican allies played politics with human lives, especially as a global pandemic ravaged our country, killing 600,000 Americans – but the threat of healthcare loss is now gone,” Herring said.
“I am incredibly proud to have played a role in defending the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that it remains the law of the land. Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare no matter who they are, what their medical history is, their employment status, or what financial background they have,” Herring said.
“Today is welcome news for millions of Virginians — including thousands of our neighbors in Central Virginia who live with a pre-existing condition, who faced the serious risk of losing their access to coverage during a global pandemic,” Seventh District Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger said. “If this effort had succeeded, we would have lost the ability to keep our children on insurance plans until the age of 26. We would have seen the upending of Medicaid expansion in Virginia, and our ability to deal with the ongoing, devastating opioid epidemic in our Commonwealth would have been gutted.
“This hyper-partisan and reckless lawsuit was a political ploy to settle old scores, and I am glad to see the Supreme Court reject it,” Spanberger said. “Going forward, I will continue to support commonsense efforts to stabilize the insurance marketplace and fix our healthcare system in the wake of this pandemic, and I am committed to protecting Central Virginians with pre-existing conditions, lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs for families and seniors, and increasing access to affordable healthcare coverage.”
“Nearly 700,000 Virginians have gained health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and many more Americans now have health care coverage today than at any point in history because of it,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said. “Today, the Supreme Court has once again ruled that the Affordable Care Act will remain law of the land, but the important work in Congress isn’t over. Now we must continue to improve and build upon the success of the Affordable Care Act in a way that expands health care coverage to more Americans and work to further reduce health care costs.”
Story by Chris Graham