The Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments to invalidate the Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 as early as this fall. The Trump Administration maintains that the individual mandate requiring health insurance is unconstitutional, and therefore, all provisions of the law must be struck down. Texas and other Republican states initiated the dispute when they sued after Congress eliminated the tax penalty for those going without health insurance.
Attorney General William Barr has recently appealed to the administration to reconsider its stance, letting part or all of the law stand in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Along with Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, Barr contends that striking down the law could disrupt the health care of millions and cause others to lose their coverage or go without entirely.
The insurance exchanges that implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could be a safety net during the pandemic, providing subsidies and Medicaid for those who have lost employer-based coverage. With an unemployment rate approaching 15%, a major change in health insurance policy would add another burden to an already overwhelmed population.
Although the case will be heard by the Supreme Court this fall, a decision would not likely be announced until 2021. The law has remained intact throughout the litigation, with the exception of the individual mandate which was eliminated in January 2019. Other states have implemented their own laws to preserve key aspects of the ACA as California has done, mandating that its residents have health insurance coverage or face a penalty as well as expanding the parameters to offer more people the ability to qualify for subsidies.