On Tuesday, November 10th, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the controversial and closely watched case, California v. Texas (known as Texas v. U.S. in the lower courts). Several Republican led states have joined the Trump Administration In a challenge to the 10-year old legislation.This is the third time that the Affordable Care Act, aka “ACA,” or “Obamacare,” has come before the high court.
It is not clear how the Supreme Court will respond, in what is probably the most controversial case to date, especially since the pandemic is still raging and healthcare is on everyone’s minds. The decision to invalidate the law could impact at least 20 million people who participate in exchanges. In addition, low-income adults who became eligible with the expansion of Medicaid would be affected. Most Americans are in favor of protecting two popular ACA provisions: protecting those with preexisting conditions and allowing parents to keep their children on their health insurance plans until the age of 26.
Mongan told the justices of the court that they “should not invalidate any more of Congress’ work than absolutely necessary.” It would seem that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh may side with the three liberal justices to uphold the ACA. Both remarked that it isn’t the Supreme Court’s role to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, whether or not any one or more of ACA’s provisions are deemed unconstitutional. Roberts went on to say that if President Trump and the Republicans wanted to strike the law, they should have done it when they had the opportunity to, rather than leaving it up to the courts.
California Solicitor General, Michael Mongan’s closing argument defending ACA follows: “The plain intent of the 2017 amendment was to make 5000A inoperative and unenforceable, not to impose the very commands this court said would be unconstitutional. And the current statutory framework makes clear that Congress wanted every other ACA provision to remain in effect if 5000A were unenforceable, because that’s the precise situation Congress created.”
States, lawmakers, insurers, brokers, and tax reporting firms (like SPS/GZ) are waiting to see what the outcome will be and if any changes will be made to impact the insurance market and the Applicable Large Employer’s insurance and reporting mandates. The Supreme Court’s ruling on this latest ACA challenge is not expected until the end of June.
President-elect Joe Biden responded, “These ideologues are once again trying to strip health coverage away from millions of people. We’re going to build a health-care system that puts you and your families first and that every American can be proud of.”
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