The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2012, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, held that most of the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, was constitutional.
However, Chief Justice John Roberts in his majority opinion pointed to the power of the federal government to tax as a primary justification for upholding the law.
The ACA’s individual mandate required Americans who did not have federal government-approved health care coverage to pay a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service.
In December 2017, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress voted to zero out the penalty for the individual mandate.
In early 2018, Texas along with 19 other states, filed suit in federal district court calling for the ACA to be struck down in light of the change in the law.
California, joined by 15 states, intervened in the case, arguing that ending the tax did not invalidate the rest of Obamacare.
The Texas-based judge sided with the plaintiffs.
California and the other defendants appealed the case to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans.
In March 2019, the Trump administration sided with the Republican-led states, arguing Obamacare in its entirety should be struck down, according to The New York Times.
Twenty Democrat-led states and the District of Columbia appealed the 5th Circuit’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court issue the order Monday, agreeing to hear the case.
California AG Xavier Becerra celebrated the news that the high court will take up the matter.
“As Texas and the Trump Administration fight to disrupt our healthcare system and the coverage that millions of people rely upon, we look forward to making our case in defense of the ACA. American lives depend upon it,” he said in a statement.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton indicated he is also glad the case is going to the Supreme Court.
“Without the individual mandate, the entire law becomes unsupportable,” he said in a statement.
“The federal government cannot order private citizens to purchase subpar insurance that they don’t want, and I look forward to finally settling the matter before the U.S. Supreme Court,” Paxton added.
One of the ACA’s most popular provisions prevents health insurance providers from denying coverage from people with pre-existing conditions.
During his State of the Union address last month, President Donald Trump pledged that he supports that guarantee remaining the law of the land.
Fox News reported a decision by the Supreme Court in the case is not expected until after the 2020 election.
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