The Supreme Court has taken a critical step toward approving the health care law’s individual mandate.
But conservatives in the conservative majority say the decision marks the first step toward a nationwide effort to undo a key pillar of the law, and is a victory for those who want to see the individual mandate repealed.
But the justices were reluctant to allow states to opt out of the mandate altogether, a move that would likely put some states out of luck as they grapple with rising premiums and rising out-of-pocket costs.
The court, however, said that states could opt out if they wanted to.
And the justices said the individual tax credits could be used to help low-income residents afford insurance, though the justices did not say that states should do so.
Republicans and Democrats on the court appeared divided over the issue, with Justice Samuel Alito writing that the mandate “must remain,” and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.
The justices also were split over the question of whether to allow cities to opt-out of the requirement, which they had said they were “not in a position to decide” on.
The case is Alito v.
Ginsburg joined the dissent.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion, wrote that he was “disturbed” by the court’s decision, which he called “an affront to the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.”
The issue of the individual market is also the focus of a lawsuit over whether the law violates the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which protects children from discrimination.
The court on Friday rejected that challenge and upheld a lower court’s ruling that the law does not discriminate against people with disabilities.
The ruling comes as the Senate is expected to vote on the GOP’s version of the health law by Friday, and could result in more conservative and liberal members on the high court voting in favor of the measure.
The health law, which is known as Obamacare, requires nearly every American to have health insurance, or pay a fine of $95.
If they do not, they must buy it through a government-run marketplace.
The president signed the legislation into law in March 2009, and the health and human services departments said it was the first of its kind in the country.
The law has expanded health coverage to millions of Americans, including millions of low- and moderate-income Americans, and helped provide health insurance to millions more.
President Donald Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing the law and has made some changes to the law.
In a speech earlier this month, Trump said the law was a “Trojan horse” for Democrats to pass a “single payer” system and that Democrats wanted to “cut” the health insurance system.
The White House has said the Affordable Care Act has helped millions of people, and Trump and Republicans have said the health plan is helping millions more, including those with disabilities, children, and pregnant women.
Democrats argue that the ACA has been successful, and they say the GOP plan will take health coverage away from millions of its citizens.
They also argue that Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are benefiting the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor.