High court dismisses challenge to Obama health law

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The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Affordable Care Act after its legality was challenged by a group of Republican-led states.

In a 7-2 ruling, the high court said the states, led by Texas, did not show sufficient injury to strike down any part of the health care law.

“Neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have shown that the injury they will suffer or have suffered is ‘fairly traceable’ to the ‘allegedly unlawful conduct of which they complain,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the court.

Republicans have tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to repeal the massive health care law known as Obamacare after the court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., upheld its individual mandate as a tax in 2012 — a prod to get healthy people to have insurance.

But in 2017, the GOP majority in Congress approved tax cuts that put the penalty for not buying health insurance at $0.

A group of conservative states led by Texas and joined by individuals argued that eliminating the tax penalty made the entire program unconstitutional based on the justices’ 2012 ruling.

The court didn’t answer that question and found that by setting the penalty at $0, the states and plaintiffs are not harmed and therefore do not have standing to sue.

Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch disagreed with the majority’s analysis, arguing that the states had standing to challenge the law.

“The Court is presented with the daunting problem of a ‘tax’ that does not tax,” Justice Alito wrote in a dissent joined by Justice Gorsuch. “Even $1 in harm is enough to support standing. Yet no State has standing?”

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