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Supreme Court to Hear Affordable Care Act Challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear a challenge (Texas v. California) to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during its ordinary course of cases in the fall of 2020. The high court had turned down a request from Democratic states and the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2020 to hear the case on an expedited schedule. The expedited request to hear the case stemmed from a December 2019 Appeals court ruling that struck down the ACA’s health insurance mandate but sent the question of whether the rest of the law can stand back to a lower court. In requesting the Supreme Court’s review during its regular scheduled session, the Democratic states and the House argue that the lower court rulings have caused excessive uncertainty in U.S. health insurance markets and the broader economy.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case in the fall of 2020, just weeks before the Presidential election, will propel the ACA and health coverage to the forefront as an election issue, although the court will not issue its decision on the case until early summer of 2021. The court has twice ruled in favor of the ACA, first in 2012, and again in 2015, prior to President Trump’s appointments of justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Last Reviewed: March 2020