On Thursday, June 17th , the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a 7-2 ruling. In California v. Texas, the original plaintiffs argued that the reduction of the individual mandate penalty to $0.00 rendered the ACA an invalid exercise of Congress’ taxation powers. This was significant because back in 2012, the Court upheld the ACA specifically on the basis that Congress was permitted to create the individual mandate according to its taxing powers. Thus, Texas’ coalition argued that the law in its entirety should be deemed unconstitutional. However, the Court did not consider the merits of these arguments, instead ruling that the individual plaintiffs in the case, as well as the eighteen states led by Texas, did not have the legal standing to challenge the law.
In the Court’s majority opinion, Justice Breyer wrote that the plaintiffs “have not shown an injury ‘fairly traceable’ to the ‘allegedly unlawful conduct’” identified in their suit. In other words, the elimination of the individual mandate did not hurt anyone—and, since no one got hurt, no one has the right to sue.
While it is always possible that additional legal challenges could come with time, the Supreme Court’s third ruling on the ACA preserves all of the law’s many federal health care requirements and protections for the foreseeable future.
If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to reach out at any time.