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Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare Emboldens Democrats
In courts and Congress, Republicans face a difficult path to repeal Affordable Care Act; Democrats hope to expand it further
The Republican-led states that brought the case on which the Supreme Court ruled Thursday could attempt to refile since they lost on procedural grounds.
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Updated June 18, 2021 9:32 am ET
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Republicans said their effort to rein in the Affordable Care Act would be more difficult following the Supreme Court’s rejection of the latest challenge to the 2010 healthcare law, as Democrats sought to expand it further.
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to the law from Texas and GOP-led states, which had argued that a decision by Congress to reduce to $0 the penalty for not having insurance meant the law was invalid. The justices found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case because they experienced no injury from the $0 penalty.
Another case in Texas, filed by conservative groups, seeks to weaken ACA requirements mandating that insurance cover certain preventive health services. The judge in the case had also ruled earlier on the penalty lawsuit and sided with the plaintiffs.
A decision favoring the plaintiffs could end free Covid-19 vaccines, rentals of breast-feeding equipment and contraception, said Nicholas Bagley, a law professor at the University of Michigan.
The case, and others like it, could threaten parts of the Obama-era health law and efforts by Democrats to grow it further. Conservative groups say they plan to continue trying to erode the law with other lawsuits.
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