Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

Issue: July 2021
Disclosures: Harmon reports no relevant financial disclosures.
June 17, 2021
2 min read

Affordable Care Act survives another Supreme Court challenge

Issue: July 2021
Disclosures: Harmon reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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The United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in a 7-2 vote.

The decision dismisses a claim by Texas and other states that the ACA’s mandate requiring individuals buy health insurance or face penalties was unconstitutional, and that the entire ACA should be overturned since the mandate was zeroed out by Congress.

Source: Adobe Stock.
Medical societies cheered the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to keep the Affordable Care Act in effect.
Source: Adobe Stock

The Supreme Court majority wrote in its opinion “that the plaintiffs do not have standing to challenge [ACA’s] minimum essential coverage provision because they have not shown a past or future injury fairly traceable to defendants’ conduct.”

This is the third time the nation’s highest court upheld the ACA, USA Today reported. In 2012, the justices ruled that Congress had the authority to issue the individual coverage mandate. Three years later, it ruled that insurance subsidies that stemmed from ACA can be proposed in both state and federal health care exchanges.

A coalition of medical groups, including the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, applauded the Supreme Court’s latest decision.

“Millions of Americans benefit from [ACA’s] fundamental protections,” the societies wrote in a joint statement. “Today’s ruling leaves in place the health care law’s critical access to quality health coverage formoreAmericans.”

AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, called the Supreme Court’s decision “a victory for patients and for the gains in health care coverage achieved through the ACA.”

Gerard Harmon
Gerald E. Harmon

“We remain committed to strengthening the current law and look forward to policymakers advancing solutions to improve the ACA,” Harmon said.

The AMA, which filed an amicus brief urging the court to reject the latest challenge to the ACA, recently unveiled a plan to “expand access to health care and ensure that all Americans have meaningful, comprehensive, and affordable health coverage to improve the health of the nation,” according to Harmon.


American Heart Association. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/patient-groups-praise-supreme-court-ruling-upholding-health-care-law-preserving-critical-patient-protections. Accessed June 17, 2021.

AMA. AMA statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on California v. Texas. https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/ama-statements/ama-statement-us-supreme-court-s-decision-california-v-texas. Accessed June 17, 2021.

Fritz J, Wolf R. USA Today. Supreme Court turns back Obamacare challenge, allowing individual coverage mandate to stand. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/06/17/supreme-court-rejects-obamacare-challenge-brought-texas/4153925001/. Accessed June 17, 2021.

U.S. Supreme Court. Supreme Court of the United States. California et al v. Texas et al. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/19-840_6jfm.pdf. Accessed June 17, 2021.