Here’s an important question. Will the courts determine the future of Obamacare? You might be excused for thinking that the Supreme Court already decided that question. But there is another case that may also affect the Affordable Care Act.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the bill because of four liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts argued that the mandate in the bill was a tax. And since the federal government has the power to tax, the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.
Let’s now fast forward to the Republican-controlled Congress when it considered the tax reform legislation, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They didn’t eliminate the mandate, but they did zero out the penalty.
That’s when several states through their attorneys general filed suit claiming that the elimination of the tax penalty essentially invalidated Obamacare. Their argument was that removing the individual mandate caused the entire bill to collapse on itself. Back in December, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with their argument and struck down both the mandate and the entire law. The case is now making its way through the courts and may eventually end up back at the Supreme Court.
It is certainly possible that the case won’t get that far. Many legal experts believe it was a huge legal leap for Judge O’Connor to invalidate the entire law. In an unexpected move, the Justice Department has sided with the federal judge.
It is worth mentioning that all of this will be taking place during an election year. Since the Republicans could not agree on a replacement plan when they were in power, Democrats are already making a big issue out of health care during this election cycle. I would highly recommend that some members of Congress start talking about what a replacement might actually look like.