Supreme Court Declines to Fast-Track Appeals on Affordable Care Act

Supreme Court Declines to Fast-Track Appeals on Affordable Care Act

January 21, 2020 Off By administrator

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied requests to quickly decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a move that could give the health-care law less political urgency ahead of the 2020 election.

A group of 20 Democratic-led states and the U.S. House of Representatives had asked the court to fast-track their appeals so that the latest legal battle over the Obama-era law could be resolved by the end of June.

The justices denied those requests in a one-sentence order with no dissents noted. The move likely means that any court consideration of the ACA won’t happen until the fall at the earliest, with any decision likely coming after Election Day.

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The Supreme Court has twice upheld the ACA. Had the court issued another ruling this summer, it could have placed the issue at the center of the election and put pressure on President

Trump

and the GOP, no matter the outcome. Republicans don’t want to be seen as taking health coverage away, but many also have continued to attack the health law.

Mr. Trump has pledged to repeal the ACA and long promised to release his own health plan. Last week, the president claimed he had saved coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, but his Justice Department has argued for the invalidation of that provision in the current litigation.

The latest Supreme Court appeals come after a New Orleans-based federal appeals court ruled last month that a central feature of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. That part of the law required most individuals to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. The appeals court declined, however, to say whether any, some or all other parts of the law remain enforceable without the mandate, leaving the federal health-policy regime in legal limbo.

The law continues to remain in effect during the litigation, which stems from a lawsuit brought by Republican-led states and backed by the Trump administration that challenged the law’s insurance mandate. The new round of litigation came after Congress reduced the penalty to $0. The GOP-led states argued the elimination of the tax rendered the mandate unconstitutional.

The appeals court has ordered a federal judge in Texas to reconsider what parts of the sprawling health law can remain in place, but the Democratic states and House were seeking to have the Supreme Court go ahead and rule that the entire law remains valid.

The timing of the appeals court ruling, after more than five months of deliberations, put the law’s defenders in a bind because it made it difficult…

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