The Supreme Court said today it would take up a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
The court will hear the case in its new term, which begins in October. This means that the ACA will continue for at least another year.
At issue is a federal appeals court ruling in December that said the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. But the case went back to the trial judge for another look at whether the entire law is invalid or some parts can survive.
Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, it will not go back to the trial judge for that analysis. The justices will hear the case in the fall, with a decision by June 2021, leaving the ACA still in place before the November elections.
Since the ACA was passed, opponents have attacked the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty on their income tax. The Supreme Court upheld the law in 2012, ruling that it was a legitimate exercise of Congress's taxing authority.
But in 2017, the Republican-led Congress set the tax penalty at zero. That led Texas and a group of Republican-led states to rule that the revised law is unconstitutional. A federal judge in Texas agreed, ruling that because the tax was eliminated, the law could not no longer be saved as a use of the taxing power. In mid-December, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld that ruling by a 2-1 vote.