Supreme Court dismisses ACA challenge

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

The ACA remains intact after the highest U.S. court rejected a legal challenge to the law, USA Today reported June 17.

A coalition of Republican-leaning states, led by Texas, asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the ACA. They argued that the court should strike down the health law because in December 2017, Congress eliminated the ACA's tax penalty for failing to purchase health insurance. They argued the individual mandate is inseverable from the rest of the law and became unconstitutional when the tax penalty was eliminated; therefore, the entire health law should be struck down.

But justices voted 7-2 to reject the challenge, saying that coalition members lacked standing to file the lawsuit because they were not directly injured, according to USA Today. The ruling did not address the merits of the constitutionality issues raised in the challenge.  

"We conclude that the plaintiffs in this suit failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants' conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional. They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the act's minimum essential coverage provision. Therefore, we reverse the Fifth Circuit's judgment in respect to standing, vacate the judgment, and remand the case with instructions to dismiss," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority, according to ABC News.

Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch disagreed with the majority.

In December 2019, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional, but did not issue a decision on whether the entire law is therefore unconstitutional. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case in November.

This story was updated at 8:14 p.m. CST on June 20.

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