The Supreme Court has no plans to take up a pivotal case involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before the presidential election in November but also didn’t rule out a full review in the future.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a motion to rush a case that challenges the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The one-sentence decision means the earliest the high court would hear the case is during their next term, which begins October 1. However, the Supreme Court could still deny the petition to review the case, which would send the case back to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who ruled in December 2018 that the ACA became unconstitutional when Congress enacted President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul. The tax plan eliminated the financial penalty of the law’s individual mandate, which required most United States citizens and legal residents to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.
Shortly after the implementation of the law, a coalition of Republican governors and state attorneys filed a lawsuit (Texas v. United States) arguing that the ACA couldn’t stand without the individual mandate and the entire law should be repealed. A group of 18 Democratic attorneys general, along with the House of Representatives, is defending the ACA and asked the Supreme Court to hear the case after a federal appeals court panel struck down a key provision of the ACA but sent the case back to O’Connor to decide the fate of the rest of the law.
The Democratic coalition had hoped the Supreme Court would hear and rule on the case prior to the November election. Upending the ACA without any plan to replace it would create chaos throughout the health care system. The law not only provides health coverage for millions of Americans, it also contains many provisions, including protections for people with preexisting conditions, the introduction of value-based bonus payments for the Stars program for Medicare Advantage plans, and preventive health benefits for all Medicare beneficiaries.