The U.S. Supreme Court decided on March 2, that it will review, during its term beginning in October, a federal appeals court decision that held the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate unconstitutional. While the Supreme Court declined to expedite a review of the petition in January, it has now agreed to hear oral arguments on the case in the fall, with a decision in June of 2021- well after the 2020 presidential election.
The original legal challenge to the ACA was brought in a Texas district court by 20 Republican-led states and was supported by the Trump administration. The Texas court ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, leading to an appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s ruling and returned the case to the Texas trial court to determine which of the law’s provisions could survive without the mandate. This prompted a group of 20 states’ attorneys general, to petition the Supreme Court to quickly review the appellate court’s decision. The petitioners were also supported by 33 state hospital associations, as well as the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Federation of American Hospitals, and others who filed friend of the court briefs in support of the ACA. No decision has yet been issued by the Texas trial court.