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Supreme Court agrees to hear Obamacare challenge

By
Don Jacobson
The Supreme Court said it would take up a Republican-led challenge to Obamacare in its next term. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
The Supreme Court said it would take up a Republican-led challenge to Obamacare in its next term. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

March 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will take up a Republican-backed legal challenge to Obamacare but likely won't deliver a decision until after the presidential election.

The court said it would hear arguments, likely in October, on a suit filed by Republican state officials seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as unconstitutional. That means a decision may not come until as late as June 2021.

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The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives and a group of "blue state" attorneys general had petitioned the high court to take up their challenge of a December appellate court decision upholding the GOP-led suit.

It contends Obamacare became unconstitutional after 2017 when the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress eliminated the tax penalty for violating the law's "individual mandate."

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After a federal judge in Texas agreed, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the ruling, but sent the rest of the case back down to Texas District Judge Reed O'Connor.

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In appealing that decision to the Supreme Court, House leaders had initially hoped to persuade the court to fast-track the case into its current term, which ends in June, so that a possible decision to invalidate the popular program would have thrust Obamacare to the center of attention as the presidential race was heating up.

In what was seen as a GOP victory, however, the high court last month chose to take the case in its normal rotation for the next term, starting in October, meaning a decision could rendered as late as June 2021, well after the November elections.

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