US Supreme Court (Credit: Reuters)
US Supreme Court (Credit: Reuters)

US Supreme Court dismisses third challenge to Obama's Affordable Care Act

ANI | Updated: Jun 17, 2021 22:26 IST


Washington [US], June 17 (ANI): The US Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed another challenge to the Affordable Care Act introduced under former President Barack Obama's administration, marking the third time that the law has survived challenges from Republican-led states and the former Trump administration, who have urged justices to block the entire law.
CNN reported that Justice Stephen Breyer penned the decision that was 7-2, where justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch had dissented. The justices said that the challengers of the 2010 law did not have the legal right to bring the case.
The court's ruling comes as President Joe Biden -- a firm supporter of the law that was passed while he served as President Barack Obama's vice president -- has expressed strong support for the law.
During the hearing, the justices argued that there is no harm to opponents from the provisions that they are challenging because Congress has reduced the penalty for failing to buy health insurance to zero.
"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. They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act's minimum essential coverage provision," wrote Breyer.
The case marked the third time the court heard a significant challenge to the law, although the stakes were heightened given the implications of COVID-19, the catastrophic deaths and the current burdens facing the health care industry, according to CNN.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report showing 31 million Americans having health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, including 11.3 million people enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges as of February 2021.
The ruling means that the justices won't rule on the merits of the lawsuit, but allows the law to stand.

Dr Ezekiel Emanuel, who helped shape the law as a White House adviser under Obama, told CNN that the high court made it clear that the ACA is the law of the land.
"It's going to stay the law of the land. We're not repealing it and now we should get on to doing additional things to help improve the health care system," he said.
Meanwhile, veteran conservative justice Alito said: "No one can fail to be impressed by the lengths to which this Court has been willing to go to defend the ACA against all threats. A penalty is a tax. The United States is a State. And 18 States who bear costly burdens under the ACA cannot even get a foot in the door to raise a constitutional challenge."
"So a tax that does not tax is allowed to stand and support one of the biggest Government programs in our Nation's history. Fans of judicial inventiveness will applaud once again. But I must respectfully dissent," he added.
Texas and other Republican-led states, with the support of the Trump administration, have challenged the law which was defended by California and other Democratic-led states plus the House of Representatives.
In 2012, Chief Justice John G 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, reported CNN.
By 2017, the Republican-led Congress cut the tax penalty for those who lacked insurance to zero as part of the year-end tax overhaul.
The Republican-led states sued, arguing that since the mandate was no longer tied to a specific tax penalty, it had lost its legal underpinning.
During his term, former US President Donald Trump repeatedly said he would come up with an alternative but never issued any substantive details. (ANI)

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