The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will hear its third major case on the Affordable Care Act by granting an appeal brought by Democratic states. The appeal stems from a case brought by Republicans in an attempt to get the courts to strike down Obamacare entirely.
Arguments will likely begin in the fall with a decision expected to come later in 2021.
According to Vox, conservative law professor Jonathan Adler has criticized the most recent ACA suit as “implausible,” “hard to justify,” and “surprisingly weak.” But, the Supreme Court now has two Trump-appointed justices who will be helping decide the fate of the ACA, which has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 20 million people according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
In this case, Democratic states, like California, are looking for the Supreme Court to reverse a lower appeals court ruling that found the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate provision unconstitutional. In that case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit then asked a lower court to decide whether the rest of the law can stand without the mandate.
The Supreme Court has twice declined to strike down Obamacare, but the court did in 2012 limit the law’s expansion of Medicaid — a government health insurance program for the poor — by making it easier for states to opt out of a provision that would have brought the program to more people.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading the Democrats’ Obamacare defense.
“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.
Health care has been a top issue for Democrats in this election. Former vice president Joe Biden has proposed a plan to expand Obamacare provisions while candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have called to get rid of private insurance entirely and transition to Medicare for All.
In the meantime, the Affordable Care Act still remains law.