The Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will not fast-track a case over the legality of Obamacare, likely putting the issue off until its next term.
A federal appeals court ruled last month that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate runs afoul of the Constitution because it is no longer a tax following President Trump’s decision to zero out the fine for not having insurance.
But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, put off a thornier question — whether other parts of Obamacare can stand without the lever that forced Americans to get insurance or pay a penalty.
The judges asked the lower court to go back and evaluate which provisions can survive.
But in an attempt to expedite the case, a group of lawmakers and Democrat-led states, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, petitioned the high court to step in.
Tuesday’s move, though, suggests the justices aren’t interested in intervening ahead of the 2020 elections.
It’s likely they could take up the matter down the road by granting an appeal of the challenge during an upcoming term.
A liberal group said Republicans running for reelection in 2020 should be pleased with the high court’s move.
“By likely getting their wish to postpone a Supreme Court decision on this destructive lawsuit until after the election, Donald Trump and the Republican Party have succeeded in their quest to spare themselves the political consequences of their effort to take away health care from 20 million Americans and protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions,” said Leslie Dach, chairwoman of Protect Our Care.
Mr. Trump, an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act, had called the decision from the lower court “a win for all Americans and confirms what I have said all along: that the individual mandate, by far the worst element of Obamacare, is unconstitutional.”
He reissued promises to deliver “the best health care in the world” and contrasted his plans with liberals’ push for a government-run, single-payer health care system.
Democrats, meanwhile, have said Mr. Trump and his GOP pals jumped off a ledge without a parachute, using a conservative judiciary as accomplices.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber will continue to defend Americans’ health care.
“Today’s disappointing decision by the Supreme Court only prolongs and worsens the uncertainty and fear that Republicans’ anti-health care agenda is inflicting on American families,” she said in a statement.
“The longer this GOP lawsuit continues, the longer it will needlessly drive up costs and endanger life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”
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