On June 17, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a decision that will leave the law intact and save healthcare coverage for millions of U.S. residents.
According to CNN.com, the justices, in a seven-to-two vote, turned away a challenge from Republican-led states and the former Trump administration, which urged the justices to block the entire law. Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.
The justices (in a decision Justice Stephen Breyer penned) noted that there is no harm to opponents from the provisions that they are challenging because Congress has reduced the penalty for failing to buy health insurance to zero.
"COVID-19 has shone a light on the critical importance of health care access and the horrifying disparities in health care among vulnerable communities," said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney and Health Care Strategist Omar Gonzalez-Pagan in a press release. "For more than 11 years, the Affordable Care Act has made it possible for more than 20 million people to see a doctor or health care provider when needed, and who without the ACA would otherwise be left to fend for themselves. Today, the Court ensured that the ACA will continue to be a critical lifeline for the people most in need by rejecting yet another frivolous challenge."
Lambda Legal noted that this was the third challenge to the ACA since its enactment in 2010 to come before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The organization filed an amicus brief on behalf of 16 nonprofit organizations that advocate for people living with HIV in support of 19 states and DC, led by California, and the U.S. House of Representatives who collectively defended the ACA and appealed a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that invalidated the individual mandate, a key provision of the act, and threatened the law in its entirety.