July 24, 2021

Volume XI, Number 205

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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Latest Challenge to ACA in 7-2 Ruling

On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a long-anticipated challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA). This was the third case in a trilogy of challenges to the ACA. See California et al. v. Texas et al., No. 19-840.
 
In a 7-2 decision, the Court held that the state of Texas (along with over a dozen states and two individuals) simply lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of a statutory mandate with no consequences. Justices Alito and Gorsuch dissented, and Justice Coney Barrett joined the majority. 

The Court did not reach the merits of the appeal, which concerned whether the individual mandate provision of the ACA, previously determined to be unconstitutional, may be severed from the rest of the law or whether the entire law must be struck down. Basically, the plaintiffs argued that if the individual mandate provision was unconstitutional, the entire ACA was unconstitutional.

Instead, the Court determined that the plaintiffs lacked standing, explaining that the plaintiffs could not demonstrate any actual injury traceable to the penalty for violating the individual mandate, which was established in 2017 at an amount of $0.

From its inception, the status of this case has been of concern to a wide variety of stakeholders in the health care industry. Beginning with the ruling by a federal district court in Texas that invalidated the ACA in its entirety, to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that only the individual mandate was unconstitutional while the rest of the ACA should remain intact, onlookers have eagerly anticipated the Supreme Court’s decision on this matter.

For now, the ACA remains the law of the land.

©2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 168
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About this Author

Nancy Taylor, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Washington DC, Health Care Law Attorney
Shareholder

Nancy Taylor is Co-Chair of the Health Care & FDA Practice and has advised clients on health and FDA related matters for more than two decades. She has broad experience in areas relating to the Affordable Care Act provisions, CMS reimbursement and policy issues relating to providers and plans, and she has done a significant amount of FDA regulatory work. Prior to joining Greenberg Traurig, Nancy served 10 years as Health Policy Director for the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and worked on a number of significant health and FDA laws, including NLEA,...

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Of Counsel

Drawing on more than a decade of litigation experience with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the General Counsel for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Division, Andrew Tsui assists health care clients seeking to develop comprehensive and durable approaches to the Medicare regulatory environments. Andrew’s extensive background as lead agency counsel and his track record of success before both administrative and federal courts nationwide provides a unique optic to support the critical legal and business challenges his...

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