November 16, 2020

Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh Indicate Unwillingness to Tear Down Health Care Law

Summarized from Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

The fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is once again in the hands of the Supreme Court, which last week heard its first oral arguments in a case over the law’s constitutionality.

The Supreme Court case centers around the law’s individual mandate that initially required all consumers to have health insurance or pay a penalty, which the Supreme Court in 2012 upheld as within Congress’ taxing authority. Congress effectively repealed the penalty in 2017 and a group of states, led by Texas, brought a lawsuit. The states argue that without the tax, the mandate — and the entire law — is unconstitutional.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh signaled that they’re unlikely to tear down Obamacare as the oral arguments began in a Republican-backed lawsuit challenging the landmark health care law. Both justices strongly questioned whether the elimination of the mandate penalty made the rest of the law problematic and Kavanaugh appeared to favor leaving the rest of the law intact if the mandate is struck.

Oral arguments are not a perfect indicator of how the justices may eventually rule, but this may provide some reassurance those who support Obamacare. For the ACA to survive unscathed, at least two Republican appointees will need to join the court’s three liberal justices. Oral arguments in the case are continuing and a court ruling is not expected until next year.