Affordable Care Act Goes Before The Supreme Court Once Again. Here’s What to Expect.

The latest challenge to Obamacare has major implications for millions of Americans’ healthcare amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Affordable Care Act once again goes before the U.S. Supreme Court today.

Justices will hear oral arguments about whether portions or all of the ACA should stand. Attorneys challenging Obamacare will try to make the case that the entire law should be struck down, a decision that could throw the nation’s entire healthcare system into chaos.

Listen: The Supreme Court to hear arguments on the Affordable Care Act challenge. 


Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus. She says the current case before the Supreme Court is really the third consequential effort to take down the Affordable Care Act. She says this particular case can be thought of as a “Hail Mary,” noting that the argument relies on dubious legal thought that even prominent conservative legal minds think may be too far.

The case has immense consequences for the American people, especially amid a global health crisis. “If the entire ACA were to fall, we are talking about millions of people in the middle of a pandemic losing health insurance,” says Lithwick. She adds that this is a point Democrats attempted to hammer home during Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing only a few weeks ago.

It may be the language of the case that does the challenge in, rather than its real-life implications, according to Lithwick. “It seems to me as though this is a court that would take very seriously the language of the statute… it’s not a simple left-right calculus, it never has been with this statute,” says Lithwick.

Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News’ chief Washington correspondent, says that so much of the current health care system is tied to the Affordable Care Act and that dismantling it could create a domino effect of disorder.

Much of congressional Republicans’ strategy in undoing the ACA centers on the mandate and the things attached to it. “If the (court decides) the mandate is unconstitutional, the things tied directly to it would have to go too, and that’s pre-existing conditions. The idea was to coerce healthy people to sign-up by saying you either have to sign up or pay this penalty,” says Rovner on the individual mandate.

Written by Detroit Today Associate Producer Clare Brennan.

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