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White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted in reaction to the decision: 'It's still a BFD.'
President Joe Biden, then serving as vice president, had whispered to President Barack Obama, 'This is a big f**king deal,' at a 2010 White House event where Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed 'Obamacare,' into law.
'The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land,' Biden said in a statement Thursday. 'Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is a major victory for all Americans benefitting from this groundbreaking and life-changing law.'
'It is a victory for more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and millions more who were in immediate danger of losing their health care in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic,' he added.
The law's major provisions include protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, a range of no-cost preventive services and the expansion of the Medicaid program that insures lower-income people, including those who work in jobs that don't pay much or provide health insurance.
Justices Sam Alito (bottom left) and Neil Gorsuch (top, second from right) dissented, while (from left bottom) Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett left the law intact
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted in reaction to the decision: 'It's still a BFD,' a reference to when President Joe Biden, as vice president, whispered to President Barack Obama at the ACA signing ceremony, 'This is a big f**king deal'
President Barack Obama (left) and then Vice President Joe Biden (right) celebrate the passage of the Affordable Care Act at the White House on March 23, 2010, when Obama signed it into law. On a hot mic, Biden commented, 'This is a big f**king deal'
Protesters stand in front of the Supreme Court on November 10, 2020, when the high court opened arguments in the long-brewing case over the constitutionality of the 2010 Affordable Care Act
A demonstrator holds up a sign that says 'Save the ACA!' in front of the Supreme Court in November 2020, when the Supreme Court held arguments over the constitutionality of Obamacare
Also left in place is the law's now-toothless requirement that people have health insurance or pay a penalty.
Congress rendered that provision irrelevant in 2017 when it reduced the penalty to zero.
The majority opinion, authored by liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, argued that because Congress zeroed out the penalty, the plaintiffs - GOP-led states and the Trump administration - aren't being harmed.
'For these reasons, we conclude that the plaintiffs in this suit failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants' conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional,' Breyer said. 'They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act's minimum essential coverage provision.'
The elimination of the penalty had become the hook that Texas and other Republican-led states, as well as the Trump administration, used to attack the entire law.
They argued that without the mandate, a pillar of the law when it was passed in 2010, the rest of the law should fall, too.
Former US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, representing the Democrat-controlled House, argued, 'There is just no way that Congress would have preferred an outcome that throws 23 million people off their insurance, ends protections for people with pre-existing conditions and creates chaos in the healthcare sector.'
But with a more conservative Supreme Court that includes three Trump appointees, opponents of 'Obamacare' hoped a majority of the justices would finally kill off the law they have been fighting against for more than a decade.
The third major attack on the law at the Supreme Court ended the way the first two did, with a majority of the court rebuffing efforts to gut the law or get rid of it altogether.
A woman holds up an 'ACA Saves Lives' sign at a pro-Affordable Care Act demonstration in New York City in 2017
'The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land.
Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is a major victory for all Americans benefitting from this groundbreaking and life-changing law. It is a victory for more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and millions more who were in immediate danger of losing their health care in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic.
It is a victory for every American who, prior to the Affordable Care Act, stayed up at night staring at the ceiling, wondering whether they would lose everything if they or a loved one got sick. Because of this law, they don’t have to worry about being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition like diabetes or watching their coverage being capped during a cancer treatment. Because of the law, they are able to get free preventive screenings that can save their lives and improve their health. Today’s victory is also for all the young people who can stay on their parents’ insurance plan until they turn 26 years old, and for the millions of low-income families and people with disabilities receiving health care because their states expanded Medicaid under this law.
After more than a decade of attacks on the Affordable Care Act through the Congress and the courts, today’s decision – the third major challenge to the law that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected – it is time move forward and keep building on this landmark law.
That is what we are doing thanks to the American Rescue Plan, which has lowered health care costs and expanded coverage for millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act. More than 1.2 million Americans signed up for coverage under the law through a special enrollment period I established during this pandemic, which people can still sign up for through August 15
. And I look forward to working with the Congress to build on this law so that the American people will continue to have access to quality and affordable health care.
Today’s decision affirms that the Affordable Care Act is stronger than ever, delivers for the American people, and gets us closer to fulfilling our moral obligation to ensure that, here in America, health care is a right and not a privilege.'rump's three appointees to the Supreme Court - Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh - split their votes.
Kavanaugh and Barrett joined the majority, while Gorsuch dissented.
The third challenge of the law was spearheaded by GOP-run states and backed by the Trump administration and defended by California, other Democratic-led states and the Democratic-ruled House of Representatives.
'Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a landmark victory for Democrats’ work to defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions against Republicans’ relentless efforts to dismantle them,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Thursday.
The Affordable Care Act passed when Pelosi was serving as speaker for the first time.
'On day one of our House Majority, Democrats acted decisively to throw the full legal weight of the House of Representatives into the fight against this GOP lawsuit,' Pelosi continued. 'We will never forget how Republican leaders embraced this monstrous suit to rip away millions of Americans' health care in the middle of a deadly pandemic.'
The trio of House Republican leaders - Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Chair Elise Stefanik - said in a statement that 'Republicans have always believed that forcing Americans to buy a government-mandated product was unconstitutional and that the Obamacare tax hit lower-income Americans especially hard.'
'While the Supreme Court ruled today that states do not have standing to challenge the mandate, the ruling does not change the fact that Obamacare failed to meet its promises and is hurting hard-working American families,' they said.
'Now, Congress must work together to improve American health care,' they added.
The House leaders also pointed to Trump's 'Operation Warp Speed,' the government's effort to get a quick COVID-19 vaccine, as a reason for wanting 'private sector innovation and execution' in healthcare.
'It is time for Congress to build on that success, not double down on a failed health care law or, worse, move towards a one-size-fits-all, socialist system that takes away choice entirely and would never have produced Operation Warp Speed,' McCarthy, Scalise and Stefanik said.
Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee said in a statement that he disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision 'to dismiss this case and not rule on the merits.'
'The Obamacare individual mandate - a provision that forces someone to purchase insurance whether they want to or not - is unconstitutional, which underscores why then-President Trump and Congress repealed the mandate’s tax penalty as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,' Hagerty said.
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida told a local news reporter that while Obamacare 'clearly is the law of the land ... it's also a law that has been horrible for people's healthcare.'
For years, Trump said he would debut his own healthcare plan to take the place of Obamacare, but he never put out a fully baked proposal.
He and Republicans, including Hagerty, vowed to protect part of the ACA that protected people with pre-existing conditions from getting denied health insurance.
The elimination of the penalty had become the hook that Texas and other Republican-led states, as well as the Trump administration, used to attack the entire law