SCOTUS Says "No" to Expediting Review of Obamacare Lawsuit | Citizens Against Government Waste

SCOTUS Says "No" to Expediting Review of Obamacare Lawsuit

The WasteWatcher

On Tuesday, January 21, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued an Orders List for pending cases.  Order Numbers 19-840 and 19-841 for California v. Texas and the House of Representatives v. Texas simply said, “The motions of petitioners to expedite consideration of the petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.”

And with that, the SCOTUS told Democrats in the House of Representatives, along with a coalition of Democratic state attorneys general, it would not expedite and quickly review the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA), or Obamacare, individual mandate is unconstitutional.

This is the latest link in a chain of events that got its beginning in February 2018 with a lawsuit that was initiated by the Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin State Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with 20 other Republican states, that challenged ACA’s individual mandate.  Their argument was that when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which overhauled the tax code and eliminated the tax penalty for not purchasing health insurance, that action made all of Obamacare unconstitutional.  In December 2018, a Texas federal court judge ruled that indeed, Obamacare was unconstitutional.  From there the case has worked its way through the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and is now before the Supreme Court. Citizens Against Government Waste wrote about the case and the Fifth Circuit Court’s decision in a December 19, 2019 blog.

On January 3, Democratic members of Congress and along with a coalition of Democratic AGs petitioned the Supreme Court to take up their appeal of the Fifth Circuit’s decision, which agreed the individual mandate was unconstitutional, and to fast-track it, wanting a decision to be made by June.  Now after Tuesday's rejection, they have asked the court to take up the case under regular order, with the hope it will be heard later this year, while Republican AGs have asked for a delay.

There’s a small possibility SCOTUS could agree to take up the case this year, but it is unlikely to happen.  Therefore, no decision will be made about ACA until next year and after the election. There are already a number of important cases before the court and Chief Justice John Roberts is involved with the impeachment trial.

A January 21 article in the Wall Street Journal stated, “The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied requests to quickly decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a move that is likely to make the health-care law play less of a role in the 2020 election.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Whether or not the court decides to take up the case this year, Obamacare and healthcare in general will be the major issue in the 2020 election.

Polling data shows healthcare is a number one concern.  Gallup reports that healthcare is extremely important or important for 81 percent of adults surveyed.  Terrorism and national security came in second, gun policy was third, and education was fourth.  A Pew survey showed similar results in September 2019.  Healthcare has also become a top issue in the state legislatures for the 2020 session.

Voters will have decisions to make.  Will we have Medicare for All that will cost trillions of dollars and put federal bureaucrats and politicians firmly in the driver’s seat deciding what Americans will have for healthcare?  Or is the solution one that has less Washington involvement, with regulatory oversight returned to the states where it is closer to the people, and more purchasing power and choices are created for consumers?  After the experience with Obamacare, CAGW’s hope is that answer is the latter.

This is why CAGW urges Congress and citizens to review healthcare plans offered by House Republican Study Committee, “A Framework for Personalized, Affordable Care” and the Health Policy Consensus Group's Healthcare Choices Plan, which has the support of several Republican senators.  Each offers just what the doctor ordered to make our healthcare system work for everyone.         


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