The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, remains valid, rejecting a claim by a group of conservative states that a recent change to the law made it unconstitutional.
By a 7-2 vote, the court said the challengers did not have legal standing to sue because they did not make a strong enough showing that the law harmed them. But the decision also suggested it would be difficult for any challengers to try again on the same legal theory.
Two of President Donald Trump’s three appointees to the court, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, joined the majority opinion, while the third, Neil Gorsuch, dissented.
In their dissent, JusticesSamuel Alito and Gorsuch said the court should have taken the case and declared it unconstitutional.
The law’s challengers, Texas and 17 other Republican-led states, urged the court to rule that Obamacare’s requirement for nearly all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay an income tax penalty — known as the individual mandate — is unconstitutional. For that reason, they said, the entire law must be scrapped.