The Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, is facing a significant legal challenge, and has already been ruled unconstitutional at the district and circuit court levels.
Now, according to The Epoch Times, House Democrats and a collection of Democrat-controlled states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to “expeditiously” take up a review of the case in hopes of reversing lower courts’ rulings and saving Obamacare from conservative efforts to do away with it.
Democrats’ last-ditch effort
According to the Times, the emergency appeals filed separately by the Democratic lawmakers and several states called for the high court to take up the matter prior to the end of its current term in June.
The reason for the hastened timeline? According to Dems, lower court rulings against the ACA prompted uncertainty in the health insurance markets and posed a risk to individuals who previously purchased insurance through the program.
Specifically, the House Democrats and Democrat-controlled states want the Supreme Court to overrule a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that essentially rendered Obamacare unenforceable and unconstitutional. Dems fret that the circuit court has “cast doubt on the validity of the entire ACA, arguably the most consequential package of legislative reforms of this century,” according to Fortune.
Unfortunately for the left, however, given the fact that the Supreme Court is just halfway through a jam-packed docket of highly consequential cases, the chances that the court will drop everything to take up this emergency appeal are slim.
Gone for good?
Obamacare’s existence is being threatened thanks to the 2017 tax reform bill passed by congressional Republicans and signed by President Donald Trump. Previously, the ACA had hinged on the so-called “individual mandate,” which required citizens to purchase health insurance and levied a tax against any individual who failed to comply.
But the 2017 reform removed the mandate from the law, a big win for conservatives — even if the concurrent effort to “repeal and replace” Obamacare fell short.
Soon after, according to The Epoch Times, lawsuits were filed by a number of states as well as two individuals seeking to have the ACA declared unconstitutional on the grounds that Congress’s powers are limited to establishing taxes; without a tax, the law is unenforceable, they say.
A district court in Texas agreed, as did a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit. Now, Democrats want the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling before the 2020 elections.
Of course, the ACA was controversial from the start, and there have been numerous efforts over the years by Republicans in Washington and elsewhere to undermine and erase it.
Whether this latest effort will be successful remains to be seen — but with a conservative majority on the bench, we can bet Democrats won’t be celebrating a victory on this front any time soon.