The Affordable Care Act today survived another major legal challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court. By a vote of 7-2, the justices rejected a lawsuit brought by 18 Republican-led states, ruling that they do not have legal standing to sue.
The majority includes Justice Clarence Thomas, who was on the other side in previous cases about the law, as well as two justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The plaintiffs questioned the legality of the 11-year old law enacted to make coverage available to millions of the uninsured, after Congress zeroed out the penalty for violating the act’s mandate that individuals have insurance.
But Justice Stephen Breyer, who authored today’s ruling, wrote that — quote — “The state plaintiffs have failed to show that the challenged provision, without any prospect of penalty, will harm them.”
In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that — quote — “The ACA imposes many burdensome obligations on states in their capacity as employers. Even $1 in harm is enough to support standing.”
A short time ago, I spoke with the secretary of health and human services, Xavier Becerra, about the Supreme Court’s decision.
Secretary Becerra, thank you very much for joining us.
So, first of all, what does this court ruling mean for health care in this country?
Xavier Becerra, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary: Judy, it means the fights are over, and we get to build on the Affordable Care Act.
So, 31 million Americans who have their insurance through the Affordable Care Act can rest with the peace of mind that they can continue to get covered. Seniors who get better coverage and help paying for their prescription drugs know that that’s not going to end.
That 25-year-old child of yours who has insurance through your policy can stay on your policy. It means, tomorrow, the sun will shine.