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SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare 7-2 With Kavanaugh, Barrett Joining the Majority

SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare 7-2 With Kavanaugh, Barrett Joining the Majority

Breyer said the plaintiffs, including 18 states, “failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act’s minimum essential coverage provision.”

The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Obamacare brought by 18 states and two individuals over the individual mandate.

SCOTUS decided 7-2 with Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett siding with the majority.

Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

Texas and the others claimed the individual mandate became unconstitutional “once it no longer carried a penalty because it had been justified as falling under the congressional power of taxation.”

They claimed Obamacare “could not survive without the mandate.”

“We conclude that Texas and the other state plaintiffs have similarly failed to show that they have alleged an ‘injury fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct,'” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer.

Breyer also said the plaintiffs did not “show that the challenged minimum essential coverage provision, without any prospect of penalty, will harm them by leading more individuals to enroll in these programs.”

SCOTUS received 21 statements from state officials as evidence. Breyer said only four of the statements “allege that added state costs are attributable to the minimum essential coverage requirement.”

Breyer noted that the four statements “refer to that provision as it existed before Congress removed the penalty effective beginning tax year 2019.”

“They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act’s minimum essential coverage provision,” concluded Breyer. “Therefore, we reverse the Fifth Circuit’s judgment in respect to standing, vacate the judgment, and remand the case with instructions to dismiss.”

This is the third time SCOTUS has upheld Obamacare:

A Texas federal judge ruled in 2018 that the entire health law was invalid, a decision that never went into effect. A year later a federal appeals court agreed that the insurance mandate was unconstitutional, but it ordered the trial court to reconsider whether other parts of the sprawling law could remain in place.

The high court’s decision reversed those rulings. Had the justices voided the ACA, their decision could have thrown the healthcare marketplace into turmoil and led to a considerable increase in uninsured Americans.

A divided Supreme Court previously upheld the mandate in a 2012 decision, based on Congress’s power to levy taxes. Lawmakers in 2017 reduced the penalty to $0 as part of Republicans’ tax overhaul package, and the GOP-led states argued that change meant the mandate could no longer be upheld under the taxing power.


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Seems fair, it always was a dubious lawsuit. More Texas dollars wasted on spurious lawsuits I see.

“No standing to sue.” Again. Not surprising, since that is the normal mode the Roberts court operates in. At least the authors of the Dred Scot and Roe vs Wade monstrosities had the honesty to take responsibility for their actions. Not Roberts and his corporatist minions.

If there is one major flaw from the Trump administration, it is the fact that Trump tended to have bad judgement when it came to Cabinet and judicial picks. I know that he was forced to work with CCP snakes like McConnell (who would have blocked any actual conservatives from being confirmed), but this is still largely on him. Trump’s usually reliable bullshit detector should have gone off when McConnell – who prides himself for blocking much of Trump’s agenda – was suddenly and miraculously so agreeable and accommodation when it came to judges.

    Trump hired McConnell’s wife as a do-nothing Transportation Secretary in return for McConnell’s cooperation.

    When Mitch went soft, at least Trump could have replaced her (I can’t even remember her name, she did so little) as a shot across the bow.

    If we renamed it Raegan care would you stop insisting on making health insurance prices spike and allow us to win elections? We lost 2020 because of this stupid lawsuit.

    People are buying health insurance at a lower price thanks to this program, there are no taxes or mandates associated with it and they are not willing to pay more in the name of lowering taxes for Jeff Bezos and building a thousand new drones to kill people in the Arabian peninsula.

    Lower top rate taxes, increased defense spending and less spending on things people need (like health insurance) is a losing message in places like MI, WI and PA.

      Milhouse in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 1:26 pm

      We lost 2020 because of this stupid lawsuit.

      That’s ridiculous.

        willow in reply to Milhouse. | June 17, 2021 at 3:55 pm

        Your comment about renaming the law Reagan. Care shows you know nothing about the commenters here. The plans’ deductibles are high. We need competition to drive down prices, tort reform, and elimination of fraud.

          mark311 in reply to willow. | June 17, 2021 at 8:04 pm

          In context of health care competition doesn’t work. Your going to pick your nearest hospital not the cheapest especially in an emergency.

        Sonnys Mom in reply to Milhouse. | June 18, 2021 at 4:28 pm

        @Milhouse, your thoughts, please, as to why standing doesn’t factor into SCOTUS’s decision whether or not to hear a case in the first place?

          Milhouse in reply to Sonnys Mom. | June 18, 2021 at 8:11 pm

          Because the parties get to argue about whether they do have standing. That’s a necessary element of any brief. This is who we are, this is what we claim is happening, this is why we care about it, and this is why we think this court has jurisdiction.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      I am in Michigan, my rider insurance policy was canceled over Obama Care and I was forced to get care from a minority owned clinic full of incompetent people. I damn near ended up blind over it.

      Obama Care was a huge fraud to transfer benefits from those who actually worked to earn them, to those who did nothing. It also shifted a bunch of SS money to those who did not earn it.

      Joe-dallas in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      Danny’s comment – “People are buying health insurance at a lower price thanks to this program,”

      Reality is people are paying more due to obama care, especially the younger generation

      mark311 in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 3:50 pm


      Obamacare is very popular but I’m not convinced this was the reason Trump didn’t win the election. The pandemic response is likely to be the primary driver in his failure to get a second term.

      @joe Dallas

      Some people are paying more sure but it’s made it affordable for millions of others. That’s increased health outcomes on a large scale for many. It’s a good start but hardly a long term fox. The US remains the worst health care system in the developed world from a cost perspective and does badly on a number of health metrics.

      artichoke in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 4:30 pm

      Trump won. Even if he was saying he didn’t, at the moment Biden needed international propping up. In fact, regardless of what Trump thinks. It’s not up to his opinion, but to the facts.

        mark311 in reply to artichoke. | June 17, 2021 at 8:06 pm

        Trump won? Won what, Biden is popular internationally, at home (compared to Trump) , won the election both in terms of the popular vote and the electoral colleges.

      caseoftheblues in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 5:54 pm

      “People are buying health insurance at a lower price thanks to this program”….

      You’re certifiable

      Ironclaw in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 7:24 pm

      People who WORK for a living and PAY for their own coverage are paying more. It only lowers rates for do-nothing lazy garbage that lives off of the efforts of others.

        mark311 in reply to Ironclaw. | June 17, 2021 at 8:12 pm

        What. It covers many on lower incomes which is a significant percentage of the population. Nor does that address the central claim which is basically that the US healthcare system is just a bit shit.

          willow in reply to mark311. | June 18, 2021 at 6:27 pm

          The competition is in the purchase of insurance. Often hospital bills are paid out of state. Consumers would pay their insurance bill to the company offering the best deal for them. Reform is needed, not socialized medicine which has its own set of problems.

    MattMusson in reply to Recovering Lutheran. | June 17, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Time to change the headlines to Supreme Court Refuses to Rule Again.

    Because that is what claiming no standing is.

Just another sign that, like most great runs in history, the republic is dying as individual/states rights are being trampled by the black robes & political elites…

So the remedy is not to pay, because SCOTUS says there’s not even the prospect of a penalty.

Unfortunately this means other parts of Obamacare, the big information infrastructure that everyone’s gotten used to but doesn’t seem to be helping anyone’s health, won’t get swept out with it.

Nor I guess the reimbursements to big urban hospitals that are much greater than small rural hospitals, or did that get removed already?

    Milhouse in reply to artichoke. | June 17, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    Not to pay what? There is no payment being demanded or collected. That’s the whole point.

    The original decision said the law is constitutional because there was no mandate. Everyone had the choice of either buying insurance or paying the tax. Then Congress abolished the tax, so the choice became either buying insurance or not buying it. That’s all.

    Remember that even Thomas agreed with this result.

    Danny in reply to artichoke. | June 17, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Uhm YES

    If you don’t want to buy health insurance don’t, the lawsuit was stupid because there was no individual mandate congress changed it to an official encouragement to buy health insurance.

    The federal government says don’t smoke or drink even though both are legal, it now also says buy health insurance even though not buying health insurance is legal.

      Milhouse in reply to Danny. | June 17, 2021 at 1:30 pm

      According to the supreme court it always said that. The original decision by Roberts said mandates are unconstitutional, but there wasn’t one. The major point of the decision was that it remained perfectly legal not to buy insurance; you just had to pay a tax if you made that choice, just as those who choose to smoke pay a tax for it. Now there’s not even a tax.

        henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | June 17, 2021 at 3:28 pm

        Entirely continuing to ignore the inconvenient fact that a law that levies a tax needs to originate in the House to be constitutional, and Obamacare did not.

          mark311 in reply to henrybowman. | June 17, 2021 at 4:02 pm

          Not 100% sure but I think it originated as the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” so yes it did originate in the house. There was a process of reconcilation as the senate bill differed somewhat so ended up going back and forth.

          Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | June 17, 2021 at 4:04 pm

          It did originate in the house. The practice of amending a bill by “deleting all words after ‘that’, and substituting other words” is long-standing and accepted.

        artichoke in reply to Milhouse. | June 17, 2021 at 4:37 pm

        Not sure how long-standing the practice of total replacement of a bill’s contents is, but it’s not common. It seemed shocking when they did it for iirc the Patriot Act, maybe it was new then.

        Nobody’s ever objected legally as far as I know. I can see the opinions, Roe v. Wade style. “The bill cannot be deleted more than 70%.” But then what about two stage rewritings where you rewrite the first half, then the second half.

        Similarly most places, if you want to demolish an old house and build a new one but don’t want property taxes to go up like new construction, you can keep about one wall of the old structure and put up the rest new, then a little later even replace that remaining wall. It will be taxed as major renovation not new construction.

          Milhouse in reply to artichoke. | June 17, 2021 at 6:37 pm

          No, it was not new then. It’s a common and standard practice, and not just in the US congress but in other legislatures as well.

        mark311 in reply to Milhouse. | June 18, 2021 at 8:15 am


        Which was then voted on in both congress and the senate. As I recall it had to pass through the house twice because of those differences.

          Milhouse in reply to mark311. | June 18, 2021 at 8:18 pm

          The senate version was pushed through the house, because the Dems had lost their 60th seat in the senate, so it was pass that or nothing.

          The original plan had been, of course, as normal, that each house passes its own version and then a conference committee hammers out the differences and produces a new version which is sent back to both houses to pass. That’s what happens to pretty much every bill. But suddenly the senate was not going to pass any further versions. So the Dems’ only choice was to take the last version the senate had passed while they had the votes there, and have the house pass that too. No amendments allowed, because if it differed from the senate version by one word it would have to go back, and it wouldn’t pass.

          And that’s why things they had planned to amend later ended up being problems for them.

          artichoke in reply to mark311. | June 19, 2021 at 11:41 pm

          The most obvious thing missing in Obamacare was the “Doc Fix”, which was needed to make the doctors get paid more. I might be remembering this wrong, but I think it was pushed through reconciliation (hence requiring no budget impact) but it was a wink-and-nod that the Doc Fix would be added later, not budget neutral at all, and apparently that passed under the regular 60 vote rule. Nobody bothered to filibuster it because, well, I guess they were told not to.

          Obamacare made a mockery of the congressional process in many ways.

The question I have is one of: “If the states do not have standing to sue on the constitutionality on this basis, then who does?”

    artichoke in reply to lhw. | June 17, 2021 at 11:48 am

    In this case, I think nobody would have standing according to the logic of the majority. Because on the grounds of damage where there’s “not even the prospect” of an actual penalty, the issue is essentially moot. The grounds don’t exist.

    I haven’t read the dissents yet, look forward to it.

    Milhouse in reply to lhw. | June 17, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Nobody. Why should anyone be able to sue? There are many potential suits that nobody has standing to bring. E.g. the constitutionality of the motto “In God we trust” on our money, or of the mention of God in the pledge. Nobody is harmed so nobody has standing.

No standing. Translation: “Freedom? You don’t need no steenking freedom! Go away Plebes!”

    Milhouse in reply to irv. | June 17, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Whose freedom is affected by this? Nobody’s.

      Ironclaw in reply to Milhouse. | June 17, 2021 at 7:29 pm

      So instead of taxing us directly for this communist garbage, instead they pay for it out of the general fund. Not too much difference in my eyes.

    Danny in reply to irv. | June 17, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    What freedom is being violated?

    There is no tax or individual mandate in the law Texas was trying to get repealed by the supreme court.

2smartforlibs | June 17, 2021 at 11:56 am

Are even they so ignorant to the fact Obamacare was made to collapse and has?

The outcome was never in doubt. It was just a question of the logic used.

    nordic_prince in reply to The_Mew_Cat. | June 17, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Kind of like the 2020 Election… the predetermined “winner” was Biden – the only question was the means by which they’d rig it.

Where is this 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court that I keep hearing about but never actually shows up? Is this the political equivalent of a Bigfoot sighting?

    Maybe the view on what the constitution actually says or the law doesn’t allow the things you want?

    It is a conservative majority not political hacks and even if they were political hacks they would consider that the Republican Party is a working class party and that their constituency doesn’t want to have their household expenses dramatically go up.

    There is no individual mandate which makes a lawsuit based on the individual mandate moot.

    This is a conservative decision. Thomas joined it, so how can you think it isn’t?

I am sincerely hoping that now that the Supreme Court has stopped it for the last time 2020 is the last election we will donate to the Democrats in the name of taking away subsidies for purchasing Healthcare.

It isn’t socialist, and it is a subsidy going to the only parts of the electorate willing to vote Republican.

It isn’t 2010 any longer, and even by 2012 people voted for Obamacare.

Individual mandate gone, unpopular taxes gone, we repealed the parts of Obamacare Republicans actually said was bad.

It’s not a conservative or a liberal court. It’s a textualist court that looks to tiny legal details to make decisions. That’s why Terry was resolved unanimously to hold that low-level crack dealers can’t be resentenced under the First Step Act while kingpins can. It’s why Fulton v. City of Philadelphia was (again unanimously) resolved to hold that Catholic Social Services doesn’t have to support same-sex couples who want to be foster parents. Heck, it’s why Bostock v. Clayton County found that the Civil Rights Act prevented individuals from being fired because they were gay or transgender. In every case, an existing statute (or regulation) was carefully and painstakingly parsed, compared against the relevant conduct, and a decision was handed down. The fact that the decisions favored, respectively, incarcerating low-level crack dealers (not sure if this is conservative or not, but it’s not liberal), Catholic Social Services (conservative), and trangender employees (quite liberal) suggest that at this point, ideology is not the primary driver.

This is a court that cites Black’s Law Dictionary to decide at the crux of a case that the word “so” in a statute means that a policeman cannot be charged with a CFAA violation for taking money to look up a license plate (Van Buren v. United States). It looked to the Dictionary Act to decide that “a notice” was legally different from “notice”, and thus a nonpermanent resident alien was entitled to additional time to plead his case (Niz-Chavez v. Garland).

I suppose that you could argue that the trajectory from Bostock (2020) to Fulton (2021) suggests that the Court is swinging conservative now that Barrett has replaced Ginsburg. I think that would be a mistake, not least because of the size of the voting margins. I think what the Court is really trying to say is that they are not there to save the writers and signers of stupid or short-sighted legislation from themselves.

Et tu, Clarence?

Interesting how Obamacare and abortion are considered sacrosanct and immutable by the Supreme Court, but the Bill of Rights (particularly the 2nd Amendment) is always open to “interpretation”.

Remember when Bitch McConnell campaigned for SIX YEARS on the fact that we HAD to give the RINOs every seat imaginable to repeal this disaster?

I give you Exhibit A for why the RINOs are traitorous pieces of shit. The SECOND he was in a position to actually do it, suddenly they didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

    mark311 in reply to Olinser. | June 17, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    They didn’t want to talk about it anymore because the GOP doesn’t have a health care policy. It’s always been repeal Obamacare then silence. Obamacare is a popular act now, that’s just the way of it

      Olinser in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 7:14 pm

      Obamacare has NEVER been ‘popular’, that’s an outright lie. SPECIFIC, isolated portions of it were popular when polled in a complete void.

      As a whole Obamacare has NEVER come anywhere close to even 50% approval among conservatives OR independents. The ONLY segment of the population it is ‘popular’ with is Democrats, and Democrats alone.

      Which is exactly why the RINO pieces of trash campaigned on it. Because they KNEW goddamn well that people wanted it gone, and they made a whole bunch of great-sounding speeches about getting rid of it.

      And just like with everything else, the second they were in a position to actually do it, Bitch McConnell and the RINO Failure Theatre crew punted it and then never spoke of it again.

        Danny in reply to Olinser. | June 17, 2021 at 10:15 pm

        The only unpopular aspects of it got repealed in 2017 so yes this is a very popular law, if it was to be repealed the furious working class would vote Democrat, and because the rest of the electorate already votes Democrat they would enjoy a 50 state sweep of all levers of political power.

        Why do you hate giving a subsidy for working class people who are purchasing healthcare so much?

        That is all Obamacare is at this point, there is no individual mandate, there is no taxes involved and no well anything else.

        Being hostile to the people who vote for our side is literally biting the hand that feeds.

          mark311 in reply to Danny. | June 18, 2021 at 8:26 am

          Fair point Danny, its a strange logic indeed.

          I would point out an unfortunate truth about US health care. Any sane person would make sure they have health care right, so if that’s the case why not call it a tax. Everyone should have it as a statement of reasonableness. If that’s the case then US citizens suddenly look at their respective pay checks and then think why is it so god damn expensive. The fact you can pay over $10k for the privilege of having a child is really quite something. I’ll stick with my free at point of service, no obligation, no medical bankruptcy socialist health care system which happens to be roughly a third of the overall price of American health care thanks.

        mark311 in reply to Olinser. | June 18, 2021 at 8:20 am

        No polling gives a pretty clear picture

        circa 55% approval with a slow trend upwards.

        Could you say what the Republican health care policy was other than repeal Obamacare?

          PODKen in reply to mark311. | June 18, 2021 at 9:39 am

          “Could you say what the Republican health care policy was other than repeal Obamacare?”

          There is none … the Republicans never got off their ass and created one. As in many things … they just fell in line behind Trump like the ignorant cowards that they are. Biggest mistake of the century and a mistake we’re all going to pay for in both money and policy for at least a decade.

          mark311 in reply to mark311. | June 18, 2021 at 11:24 am


          Fair enough, its the answer I was anticipating, maybe not in those terms though ha

          Danny in reply to mark311. | June 18, 2021 at 10:54 pm

          To respond to your other point that is a fair point and surprising thing about it is that it was actually made by Donald Trump himself in his 2016 win when he actively discussed exactly that and praised single payer system, which is significant because that is the election he won on (hint about the healthcare debate). from the horses mouth

          The question of private unsubsidized, subsidized private or single payer is a good one, the best argument for subsidized private is that experimental treatments which do get the short end under single payer but sometimes make a big difference.