US Supreme Court upholds Obama era plan, preserves health care for millions

Published June 18, 2021
The US Supreme Court building is seen on the day justices rejected a Republican bid that had been backed by former President Donald Trump's administration to invalidate the Obamacare healthcare law. — Reuters
The US Supreme Court building is seen on the day justices rejected a Republican bid that had been backed by former President Donald Trump's administration to invalidate the Obamacare healthcare law. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a bid by Republican-led states to overturn Obamacare, safeguarding the health insurance of millions with the coronavirus pandemic still a threat in much of America.

In a 7-2 decision, the nation’s highest court upheld the Af­­fordable Care Act (ACA), former president Barack Obama’s signature health care programme, ruling that Texas and the other 17 states did not have standing in the case.

President Joe Biden, who was Obama’s vice president when the ACA was enacted, called the court ruling “a big win for the American people” and those “who were in immediate danger of losing their health care in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic.” “With millions of people relying on the Affordable Care Act for coverage, it remains, as ever, a BFD,” Biden said.

“BFD” is a reference to a comment Biden whispered into Obama’s ear at the 2010 ACA signing ceremony, when he said: “This is a big fucking deal.” The remark was picked up by live microphones.

Obama said the court ruling “reaffirms what we have long known to be true: the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” “The principle of universal coverage has been established, and 31 million people now have access to care through the law we passed — with millions more who can no longer be denied coverage or charged more because of a preexisting condition,” Obama said in a statement.

Democratic lawmakers welcomed the court decision.

“Thanks to the tireless advocacy of Americans across the country and the work of Democrats in Congress, the Affordable Care Act endures,” said Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Despite every desperate right-wing attack to rip health care away from millions of Americans, the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and it’s here to stay,” said Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Republicans have unsuccessfully attempted on numerous previous occasions to have Obamacare thrown out in Congress and in the courts.

Republican lawmakers said the “ruling does not change the fact that Obamacare failed to meet its promises and is hurting hard-working Ame­rican families.” “Now, Congress must work toge­ther to improve American health care,” House mino­rity lea­der Kevin McCarthy said.

Former president Donald Trump had pledged to eliminate the ACA but his efforts repeatedly failed and he never presented an alternative.

Four of the conservative justices on the court — including two appointed by Trump and Chief Justice John Roberts — joined their three liberal colleagues in voting to uphold the ACA.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2021

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