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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