In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, likely securing the law's protections for more than 20 million Americans, The New York Times and NBC News report.
18 conservative states, led by Texas, levied the latest battle in the war against ObamaCare, arguing the elimination of the individual health insurance mandate in 2017 rendered the entire legislation unconstitutional. The majority-conservative court ruled on Wednesday that the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the law because "they have not shown an injury traceable to the enforcement of the provision they claimed is unconstitutional," NBC News writes.
Such an opinion, however, "[sidesteps] the larger issue in the case" — whether the law holds up without the individual mandate, the Times adds.
Justice Samuel Alito penned the dissent on behalf of himself and Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing that the "third installment in our epic Affordable Care Act trilogy" allows a "tax that does not tax to stand and support one of the biggest Government programs in our Nation's history." Therefore, he must "respectfully dissent."
A majority ruling against Obamacare could have "doomed" protections for young adults still on their parent's insurance, those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and those with pre-existing conditions, among others, per the Times.