WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
The signature policy of former President Barack Obama brought health insurance to about 20 million people, including nearly two million Floridians, where more people registered for coverage this year than in any other state.
Miami-Dade County has the highest Obamacare enrollment of any county in the country.
The Supreme Court ruled eight years ago to leave Obamacare intact, but President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are arguing to have it overturned. They argue Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional because Congress eliminated the financial penalty for individuals who fail to obtain health insurance coverage.
The Republican-led states and the Justice Department also claim that if the individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court, the rest of Obamacare should fall with it, as the provision is intertwined with the law.
If the court agrees with the Republicans, millions of Americans could lose their health care coverage.
However, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh have both signaled they disagree with arguments that Obamacare should fall if its individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional.
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California is leading the group of Democratic-controlled states urging the court to leave the law in place.
Proponents say it lowers health care costs for consumers and prohibits insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. It also allows young adults to remain on their parent’s health care plans until age 26.
Opponents say many aren’t getting needed care due to high costs and deductibles.
This is one of the first cases heard by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the conservative jurist confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She replaces liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.
President-elect Joe Biden is fighting to defend Obamacare. He is scheduled to deliver a speech on the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Biden’s comments, set to be delivered from Wilmington, Delaware, will focus on the “stakes for families across the country” in the legal battle before the justices and his plan to expand access to health care, his transition team said. He will be joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.