This morning, the Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision ruled that none of the plaintiffs in the suit Texas v California had standing to sue, and therefore the suit that had sought to toss the entire ACA should never have been brought or ruled upon. The ACA survives.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court rejects the constitutional challenge to Obamacare in 7-2 opinion. The court tosses the lawsuit because the challengers do not have legal standing to sue. https://t.co/meuQgPE50Z
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 17, 2021
The theory of the case that the plaintiffs brought was that the Republican tax cut bill signed in December 2017 zeroed out the individual mandate penalty and therefore made the mandate more coercive and not a tax. From here, they argue that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. And they then argued that the individual mandate was critical to the rest of the law, and thus it was not severable from any part of the law and the entire law must then be tossed.
The court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Breyer, said a zero dollar mandate penalty with no enforcement mechanism is not an injury, it is effectively a statement that puppies are awesome and ice cream is yummy, and thus the individual plaintiffs had no particular injuries. The state plaintiffs have no standing because their complaint is about other aspects of the ACA that causes paperwork requirements and policy outcomes that they don’t like, and it can not be traced directly to the individual mandate that a state by definition never paid.
There are a few other legal challenges to the ACA; most notably the role of the bodies that places some services into the no cost sharing tier of essential health services. But right now the ACA insures 30 million people and it is here to stay.