The U.S. Supreme Court declined today to put the legal challenge to Obamacare on a fast track, meaning the court will not hear the case prior to the November election.
The court's current term ends in June just as the presidential campaign enters the home stretch. The court's one-sentence ruling rejected a quick hearing, but did not rule out taking up the case at a later date.
Politico reports the SCOTUS decision is likely a big relief to President Donald J. Trump and other high-profile Republicans facing tough re-election bids. The decision also means Republicans face much less pressure to unveil any Affordable Care Act replacement plan before the election, Politico explained.
Nineteen left-leaning states, led by California, asked the Supreme Court earlier this month for a quick decision on whether to take the case. They appealed a December ruling by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that said Obamacare's individual mandate is unconstitutional.
The court refused to decide whether any part of the law could stand after Congress zeroed out the tax penalty. They instead sent the case back to the Texas federal judge to decide what parts of the law could remain in place.
The states defending the law said the appeals court ruling created uncertainty about the future of the entire Affordable Care Act, which "threatens adverse consequences for our nation's health care system, including for patients, doctors, insurers, and state and local governments."
They asked the court to take the case and hear it on April 26, the last scheduled day for oral argument this term, or to add an extra argument day in May, something the court rarely does.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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