Today, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in California v. Texas, a case that is challenging the Affordable Care Act. If the ACA is overturned, more than 20 million Americans would lose their health coverage in the middle of the country’s largest COVID-19 spike with more than 100,000 new cases being reported daily.
The case, brought by 18 Republican-controlled states and 2 Texas-based individuals and backed by the federal Department of Justice, claims that the ACA’s individual mandate language, which requires that all American taxpayers have health insurance through either an employer or their state system, is unconstitutional. Though the financial penalty for those who remain uninsured was removed in 2017 as part of the GOP’s sweeping Tax Bill, those states arguing against the ACA claim that because the language remains in the original bill, the whole thing must be overturned.
As the case has risen through the lower courts, the federal government has taken the unusual position of refusing to defend the law, and in fact have argued to expand the complaint. It was the federal government that added a claim that the ACA’s guarantee of coverage for preexisting should also be removed, putting some 1 in 3 Americans who suffer