The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it had rejected another challenge to the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare). At issue was whether Obamacare is constitutional after Congress and President Donald Trump zeroed out the tax penalty for people who didn't have health coverage. It was that tax penalty that the high court pointed to in a prior decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Texas, other Republican-led states, and two individuals had argued against the Affordable Care Act, but justices ruled 7-2 yesterday that the group had no right to bring their lawsuit to federal court.
"Obamacare was sold on a lie to the American people," tweeted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R). "Its crown jewel – the individual mandate – was unconstitutional when it was enacted and it is still unconstitutional. Yet seven justices decided to avoid the question of the constitutionality by limiting its decision to a ruling on standing."
He added: "If the government is allowed to mislead its citizens, pass a massive government takeover of health care, and yet still survive after Supreme Court review, this spells doom for the principles of federalism and limited government."
Robert Henneke, general counsel for the Texas Public Policy Foundation and lead counsel for the individual plaintiffs, tells One News Now he is both "perplexed and, in many ways, unsatisfied" by the ruling.
"The way that the Court sidetracked the case to rule on standing leaves the important constitutional legal issues that were presented unresolved," he explains.
Henneke goes on to say there is nothing to celebrate about the ruling, given that the status quo of the broken policies of the Affordable Care Act will remain in effect.
"Because once again, the Supreme Court has let Congress off the hook in terms of having to deal with the consequences of the law that Congress passed," he laments. "For the third time, the Supreme Court has really contorted itself to bail out Congress and the Affordable Care Act."
The attorney adds that clients had a right to be in court – a question that was undisputed in the trial court and at the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"Our case was based in premise squarely on the prior Supreme Court rulings and the jurisprudence of the Court involving this law and these types of plaintiffs," he concludes. "And without really a way out, the Court seems to have … duck[ed] the legal issues that were presented."