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Obamacare withstands third Supreme Court challenge

The Supreme Court on Wednesday Associated Press/Photo by Jose Luis Magana

Obamacare withstands third Supreme Court challenge

The justices on Thursday ruled for the third time to let the Affordable Care Act stay in place. In the 7-2 decision, four conservative justices sided with the majority, including Amy Coney Barrett, whom Democrats painted as a threat to the landmark healthcare law during her confirmation hearings last year.

What was the question this time? The Republican-led challenge claimed the individual mandate, which required most Americans to obtain health insurance or face a penalty, was unconstitutional. The court upheld the mandate in 2012 because Congress has the power to levy a tax on people without insurance. During President Donald Trump’s administration, Congress reduced that tax penalty to zero. Republican states renewed their objection to the law saying it did not pass constitutional muster anymore because it didn’t include a tax. They wanted the Supreme Court to rule on that constitutional question, but instead the justices dismissed the case on the grounds that the states did not have standing to sue because they could not prove the law harmed them.

Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard’s summary of the case on The World and Everything in It.


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When I first heard Justice Robert rule that the Affordable Care Act was a tax, I thought for sure he was going to rule it unconstitutional, because it originated in the Senate, and according to the Constitution, all taxes must originate in the House of Representatives (Article 1, Section 7, Paragraph 1).