Former President Barack Obama said that the Affordable Care Act, one of his crowning policy achievements, is secure after the Supreme Court rejected yet another constitutional challenge to the health care legislation in a decision handed down Thursday.
“Today,” Obama said in a statement, “the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Again.”
“This ruling reaffirms what we have long known to be true: the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. The principle of universal coverage has been established, and 31 million people now have access to care through the law we passed —with millions more who can no longer be denied coverage or charged more because of a preexisting condition,” he said.
In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court rejected a GOP-led suit on the basis of standing, meaning the plaintiffs could not prove the legislation was causing harm and they needed a court to intervene. The suit had centered on the “individual mandate” portion of the Affordable Care Act, which originally imposed a fine on people who did not sign up for health insurance. The fine was lowered to $0 in 2017.
The Affordable Care Act survived two other major challenges in the Supreme Court ― one in 2012 and another in 2015.
Obama concluded by praising President Joe Biden, who worked to expand the enrollment period on HealthCare.gov and give Americans new financial incentives to sign up for health insurance as part of a COVID-19 relief package passed earlier this year.
The number of people enrolled through the Affordable Care Act subsequently hit a record high: 31 million Americans were enrolled as of June.
“Now we need to build on the Affordable Care Act and continue to strengthen and expand it. That’s what President Biden has done through the American Rescue Plan, giving more families the peace of mind they deserve. And because he extended the special enrollment period until August 15th, anyone who needs coverage can go to healthcare.gov and sign up,” Obama said.
Biden voiced support for making the additional pandemic benefits permanent.
“Today’s decision affirms that the Affordable Care Act is stronger than ever, delivers for the American people, and gets us closer to fulfilling our moral obligation to ensure that, here in America, health care is a right and not a privilege,” Biden said Thursday.