Again, a majority conservative Supreme Court seems poised to vote against a case which would upend the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) based on two justices’ arguments on Tuesday.
Chief Justice Roberts cast the deciding vote in 2012, 5-4, in support of upholding the Affordabe Care Act (ACA) and wrote the majority opinion, breaking with arch conservative justices, to keep the act passed by congress intact. This new case brought to the Supreme Court supported by Trump, Texas and an amalgamation of red states, hinges on the argument that because congress scrapped the mandate which used to require a taxable penalty if one did not sign up for health insurance, this was a basis for scrapping the entire act as the mandate was a lynchpin for it. However, the ACA has survived without the mandate. Justice Robert's oral argument on Tuesday indicated he'd probably vote to uphold the law again:
"I think it's hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire Act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the Act. I think, frankly, that they wanted the Court to do that. But that's not our job."
A 5-4 vote upholding the ACA seems a possibility if justice Brett Kavanaugh's oral argument is any indication of his possible vote:
"It does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the Act in place, the provisions regarding preexisting conditions and the rest."
While 71 million may have voted for Trump for president, it's unlikely that a majority of this same group would support overturning the ACA, or provisions which would grant insurance companies the power to raise premiums for pre-existing conditions under the ACA. The final verdict of the Supreme Court on this new challenge to the ACA has yet to be determined, but oral arguments from conservative justices Roberts and Kavanaugh on Tuesday, give the impression that the court is reticent even with a new 6-3 majority of conservative justices to strike down "Obamacare," the wide healthcare safety net the ACA is providing during the worst pandemic of the century.