The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Obama-era health care law, preserving insurance coverage for millions of Americans.
The judges, by a 7-2 vote, left the entire law intact Thursday, ruling that Texas, other Republican-led states and two individuals did not have the right to bring their lawsuits in federal court.
The main provisions of the law include protections for people with pre-existing health problems, a range of free preventive services and the extension of the Medicaid program that insures people with low incomes, including those in low-paying jobs or provide health insurance.
The law’s now unwavering requirement that people have health insurance or pay a penalty is also left in place. Congress made this provision moot in 2017 when it reduced the penalty to zero.
Eliminating the penalty had become the hook that Texas and other Republican-led states, as well as the Trump administration, used to attack the law as a whole. They argued that without the mandate, a pillar of the law when it was passed in 2010, the rest of the law should also fall.
And with a more conservative Supreme Court that includes three Trump appointees, opponents of “Obamacare” hoped that a majority of judges would finally eliminate the law they have been fighting against for more than a decade.
But the third major attack on the law in the Supreme Court ended in the same way as the first two, with a majority of the court pushing back efforts to either empty the law or get rid of it altogether.
Trump’s three Supreme Court appointees – Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – have divided their voices. Kavanaugh and Barrett joined the majority. Gorsuch disagreed, agreeing with Judge Samuel Alito’s opinion.