The Democrats just suffered a major setback after the Supreme Court delivered another major victory to President Donald Trump and Republicans.
After delivering two massive rulings on cases involving immigration, the nation’s highest court announced on Monday that it will take up a legal challenge to Obamacare.
The Court agreed to hear the case in its new term that begins in October. That means the program will continue for at least another year, but maybe not much longer after that.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on a challenge to Obamacare’s individual mandate but will not do so in the expedited manner that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats wanted.
It also means the justices won’t be handing down a ruling on the contentious issue of health care this June, just as the presidential campaign heats up. That may be good news for Republicans, who would prefer to avoid the issue in an election year.
A federal appeals court ruled in December that the individual mandate in Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, is unconstitutional. But it sent the case back to the trial judge for another look at whether the entire law is invalid or some parts can survive.
The U.S. House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, and a group of blue states urged the Supreme Court in January to take the case and issue a decision promptly, in its current term, instead of leaving the fate of the law in limbo.
“That uncertainty threatens adverse consequences for our nation’s health care system, including for patients, doctors, insurers, and state and local governments,” they told the court.
But the justices rejected the invitation for expedited scheduling, agreeing instead to follow the normal rules.
The delay means that Trump and Republicans can use this case to help boost them in November.
By keeping Trump in the White House, the Supreme Court will remain staunchly conservative.
And if Republicans win back control of the House and keep the Senate, they will be able to pass their own healthcare legislation regardless of what the Supreme Court rules.
This marks the third time the courts have had the opportunity to strike down Obamacare, which many legal experts continue to argue is illegal.
While conservatives currently have a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, many worry that Chief Justice John Roberts will save the law again.
Back in 2010, Roberts — who was appointed by former President George W. Bush — sided with the four liberal Justices and ruled that Obamacare was constitutional and would be the law of the land.
The facts are not complicated – some of Obamacare provisions like protecting pre-existing conditions and not overcharging middle-aged people before they are eligible for Medicare should stay as Trump has said.
But Obamacare did nothing to stop the rising cost of healthcare – those costs far outpace inflation – and that is the reason the system teeters on the edge.
We will need to come together to solve the pricing issue and, thankfully, the Supreme Court will not allow the Democrats to politicize this issue in 2020.