Supreme Court Will Again tackle Issue of Obamacare’s Constitutionality
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down the individual mandate that is at the heart of the health insurance law.
Writing at SCOTUSblog, Amy Howe notes this latest challenge to the former president’s signature legislative achievement centers on Congress’ repeal of tax penalties for anyone who did not buy health insurance as was previously required:
…in 2017, Congress enacted an amendment to the ACA that set the penalty for not buying health insurance at zero – but left the rest of the ACA in place. That change led to the dispute that is now before the court: A group of states led by Texas (along with several individuals) went to federal court, where they argued that because the penalty for not buying health insurance is zero, it is no longer a tax and the mandate is therefore unconstitutional. And the mandate is such an integral part of the ACA, they contended, that the rest of the law must be struck down as well.
Both a U.S. district court and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that with the penalties gone, the mandate was over. The question now is whether the rest of the health insurance law can remain in place. The Court will consider:
…three questions: whether the challengers have a legal right to sue at all; whether the mandate is now unconstitutional; and whether, if the mandate is unconstitutional, it can be separated from the rest of the ACA. The justices also granted a cross-petition filed by Texas, which asks the court to decide whether the district court was correct in deeming the entire ACA invalid.
The Court will hear arguments in its October term. A decision is expected in 2021.
Image Credit: Joe Ravi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons