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Here to Stay: The Affordable Care Act

On June 17, the Supreme Court ruled against Texas and other Republican-led states in their attempt to challenge the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, in a 7-2 vote. The challengers claimed that a recent change to the law made it unconstitutional. This is not an unheard-of claim – the ACA has been challenged in front of the Supreme Court two times before.

The challengers stated that the requirement for almost all Americans to have health insurance or pay income tax penalties is unconstitutional, and that the entire Affordable Care Act must be done away with. In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts said this requirement, called the individual mandate, was a lawful exercise of Congress’ taxing authority. In 2017, the Republican-led Congress set that tax penalty to zero. The challengers argued that the ACA could not be saved as a tax and it is unconstitutional to require all citizens to acquire something like health insurance. Spearheaded by California, 20 Democrat-led states countered that with the tax penalty at zero, the individual mandate is essentially non-existent and therefore not unconstitutional.

Over 20 million Americans have health coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. The law allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26, offers free mammograms, cholesterol checks, and birth control, and strongly protects those with pre-existing conditions. Because of the ACA, insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on a person’s health history, or “pre-existing conditions.” The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that before this law was put into place, nearly 30% of all non-elderly adults would have been uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions. The law also prevents insurers from imposing annual or lifetime caps on benefits and adds limits on annual out-of-pocket spending.

“Neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have shown that the injury they will suffer or have suffered is ‘fairly traceable to the ‘allegedly unlawful conduct of which they complain,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the opinion of the court. The challengers had no standing. President Joe Biden, who served as Vice President to former President Barack Obama when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, called the outcome "a major victory for all Americans benefitting from this groundbreaking and life-changing law.”

The attorneys at MAS Law know that medical coverage can get complicated and costly. If you or someone you know was injured in an accident or due to someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced attorney like those at MAS Law to help get the compensation you deserve by calling 972-789-1664.

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