SCOTUS takes up case questioning ACA’s individual mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in its October 2020-2021 term concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case, California v. Texas, is consolidated with Texas v. California, and came on a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

In 2010, President Barack Obama (D) signed the ACA into law. The ACA established requirements for individuals to have health coverage and instituted fines for those without coverage.

In 2018, 20 states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas challenging § 5000A of the ACA and claiming the law was unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled the law was invalid.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled § 5000A was unconstitutional and remanded the case. A group of states petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review, arguing (1) the respondents did not have the legal right to challenge the law and (2) the law was not unconstitutional.

SCOTUS will consider the following three issues:
(1) Whether the plaintiffs have established Article III standing to challenge the minimum coverage provision in § 5000A(a). The minimum coverage provision, also known as the individual mandate, requires individuals to have “minimum essential coverage.”

(2) Whether reducing the amount specified in § 5000A(c) to zero rendered the individual mandate unconstitutional.

(3) If so, whether the individual mandate is severable from the rest of the ACA.

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About the author

Sara Reynolds

Sara Reynolds is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at sara.reynolds@ballotpedia.org

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