Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) as it exists today, will remain in place.

On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a 7-2 ruling after several arguments challenging the constitutionality of the ACA were brought forth to the court. The Supreme Court determined that the plaintiffs in this case did not have standing to sue, meaning they have not shown they suffered any injury as a result of the elimination of the individual mandate penalty and, therefore, do not have a legal right to sue.  

According to the court, “attack[ing] an unenforceable statutory provision [to continue] would allow a federal court to issue what would amount to an ‘an advisory opinion without the possibility of any judicial relief.’”

Background

Texas v. Azar, the lawsuit which challenged the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate, was filed in 2018 by 18 states as a result of the 2017 tax reform law that eliminates the individual mandate penalty. Soon after, the Supreme Court was asked to take up the case before the lower court issued a ruling, which the court denied the motions to expedite consideration of Texas v. Azar — concluding there is no emergency that would justify expediting the case.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA on the basis that the individual mandate is a valid tax. With the penalty’s elimination, the appeals court in this case determined that the individual mandate is no longer valid under the U.S. Constitution.

The court did not make any determinations on any other issue in the case, including the validity of the individual mandate or whether the rest of the ACA can be severed from the individual mandate provision. This case is now concluded.

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