Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Obama health law, preserving insurance coverage for millions

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The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the Obama era health care law(Affordable Care Act), preserving insurance coverage for millions of Americans. The justices, by a 7-2 vote, left the entire law intact Thursday(17th June 2021) in ruling that Texas, other Republican-led states and two individuals had no right to bring their lawsuit in federal court.

The law’s major provisions include protections for people with pre existing health conditions, a range of no cost preventive services and the expansion of the Medicaid program that insures lower income people including those who work in jobs that don’t pay much / provide health insurance.

Also left in place is the law’s now-toothless requirement that people have health insurance or pay a penalty. Congress rendered that provision irrelevant in 2017 when it reduced the penalty to zero. The elimination of the penalty had become the hook that Texas and other Republican-led states, as well as the Trump administration, used to attack the entire law. They argued that without the mandate, a pillar of the law when it was passed in 2010, the rest of the law should fall, too.

With a more conservative Supreme Court that includes three Trump appointees, opponents of Obama care hoped a majority of the justices would finally kill off the law they have been fighting against for more than a decade. But the third major attack on the law at the Supreme Court ended the way the first two did, with a majority of the court rebuffing efforts to gut the law or get rid of it altogether.

Trump’s three appointees to the Supreme Court – Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh- split their votes. Kavanaugh and Barrett joined the majority. Gorsuch was in dissent, signing on to an opinion from Justice Samuel Alito.