Supreme Court To Hear Obamacare Case: Kill It NOW, Or Kill It LATER?

This is your daily reminder, in the lead-up to the November election, that Donald Trump is actively trying to take away health insurance from millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions. So vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

Also, too, sorry this post is kind of technical and not so funny, but honestly NONE OF THIS SHIT IS FUNNY AT ALL.

This morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear another Affordable Care Act case challenging the individual mandate to buy health insurance. In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts "saved" the ACA, upholding the law by declaring that the individual mandate is a legal "tax." But in 2017, when Republicans seized control of the House, they zeroed out the penalty for failing to buy health insurance, and immediately turned around and claimed that the tax rationale was no longer operative.

Texas led a consortium of Republican states suing to have the entire ACA struck down on the rationale that the individual mandate undergirds the entire apparatus, and in December 2018, US District Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas agreed with them, holding that the entire law must fall, pre-existing conditions and all, without the individual mandate.

The House of Representatives and a consortium of Democratic states led by California defended the law at trial and appealed to the Fifth Circuit. At which point, the Justice Department, which had previously argued that the individual mandate was illegal, but that the rest of the ACA must stand, reversed positions and said the whole law had to go. So when Donald Trump says he's trying to protect health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, HE IS LYING HIS ORANGE FACE OFF.

In December 2019, the Fifth Circuit agreed with the trial court, holding that the entire ACA was illegal without the mandate, and sending the case back to the trial judge to assess congressional intent to see if any part of the original law could survive without it.

The House and the California consortium requested expedited review by the Supreme Court, which was denied. Texas and the rest of the goon squad wanted the case to go back down to the trial court before working its way back up to the Supreme Court. This would reduce its immediacy as an election issue in November, since they just got hammered in 2018 on healthcare, and increase the odds that one of the liberal Justices will no longer be there to hear it. (Sorry, it's just a fact.)

This morning, the court agreed to hear the case this fall, which means a decision is likely some time in 2021. Which is a huge dodge, since it allows Trump to lie his way straight through the election, claiming that he's trying to protect Americans' healthcare, rather than gut it.

But, more to the point, here's some tough love from me to you: Sooner or later, the Supreme Court is going to kill the ACA. Because of the 2016 election, we are now stuck with Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh forever, and there's nothing we can do about it. I support universal healthcare, and you support universal healthcare, but we may well end up with a Democratic nominee who doesn't take that position. Which sucks, I get it. But unless you want the GOP to design whatever comes next, YOU NEED TO SHOW UP AND FUCKING VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRAT.

Okay? OKAY????


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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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