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Friday, December 2, 2022

Obamacare Arguments Put Supreme Court And Health Care In Presidential Election Spotlight

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The Supreme Court agreed to once again become the decider on the future of Obamacare — the controversial law that has become a fabric of society for the millions of Americans who have come to rely upon it. Trenise Bryant joins others for a protest in front of the office of Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) on August 3, 2017 in Miami, Florida. JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES

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The Supreme Court agreed Monday to once again become the decider on the future of Obamacare — the controversial law that has become a fabric of society for the millions of Americans who have come to rely upon it.

But the justices ensured something else as well. They guaranteed that over the next several months, as the presidential election rages on and legal briefs flood the zone, the fate of the law and the court will be front and center during the campaign.

The court had options. It could have taken up the case this term, and put the issue to rest by the end of June. It could have allowed the case to continue for months or maybe even years in the lower courts, delaying Supreme Court action until next year or beyond.

President Donald Trump will likely use the case to remind conservative voters of the importance of the Supreme Court as part of his reelection bid.

Democrats, meanwhile, will vigorously highlight the Trump administration’s legal argument: a law that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions should be invalidated by a court bolstered with two of Trump’s nominees: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. And while the President has vowed to come up with a replacement plan, so far he has not.

“Regardless of the date of oral argument, the Democratic candidate will — and should! — use this case to bludgeon President Trump at every turn,” Nicholas Bagley of the University of Michigan Law School tweeted.

What’s still unknown is whether arguments will be scheduled before Election Day on November 3. Under normal circumstances, a case granted this early for the following term could be a contender for October arguments. But the significance of that would not be lost on justices eager to avoid the political fray.

Brian Fallon, who runs a group, Demand Justice, that opposes Trump’s judicial nominees, underscored the point.

“A Supreme Court oral argument about the future of Obamacare, possibly in October right before the election, will put Trump’s plan to throw millions off their insurance front and center and make Supreme Court voters out of millions of people,” he tweeted.

Former Vice President Joe Biden echoed that argument.

“This fall, Donald Trump will be trying to get the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare — ripping health insurance away from 30 million Americans, ending protections for 100 million more with preexisting conditions, destroying families, and costing a million jobs,” the Democratic presidential contender said in a statement. “This case is a stark, life-and-death reminder how much is at stake this fall and what’s on the ballot right now: Democrats must nominate the candidate whom they know can beat Trump and bring along the Senate, to ensure we can protect our health care for generations to come.”

Democrats even whipped up an impromptu rally — scheduled within an hour after the court’s decision to take up the case. Such rallies usually only occur on decision days or argument days.


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