Judges heard the arguments by teleconference for two hours in an appeal by the coalition of Democratic-ruled states, including California and New York, and the House of Representatives in favor of maintaining the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a law known as Obamacare. .
Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow Conservative Brett Kavanaugh asked questions that suggested they were skeptical of Republican arguments that the entire Obamacare law should fall, even if one of the key provisions, known as the individual mandate, is found unconstitutional. Initially, that provision required people to obtain insurance or pay a penalty.
“It is difficult to argue that Congress intended the entire law to fall if the individual mandate was rejected,” Roberts said, noting that Congress did not reject the entire law in 2017, when it removed the individual mandate penalty.
The case is the latest Republican lawsuit against the law in 2010, which is the largest domestic policy achievement of former Democratic President Barack Obama. In 2012 and 2015, the Supreme Court rejected Republican appeals. Republicans have also failed in their numerous attempts to repeal Obamacare in Congress, although the Trump administration has taken action against the law.
If Roberts and Kavanaugh join the three liberal judges of the court in the decision that will be made by the end of June, it would be enough for most of the law to be kept.
President-elect Joe Biden, a former vice president under Obama, has criticized Republican efforts to repeal the Obamacare law amid a deadly coronavirus pandemic and hopes to strengthen Obamacare after taking office on January 20th.