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November 10, 2020Advocacy Matters

U.S. Supreme Court Hearing on the Affordable Care Act 

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender 

November 10, 2020 

U.S. Supreme Court Hearing on the Affordable Care Act 

California v. Texas 

Texas v. California 

Today, the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court today.  The lawsuit is an attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.  The question in front of the Court today is whether the individual mandate to purchase minimum essential coverage is severable from the remainder of the Affordable Care Act.

Congress had kept the individual mandate to have health insurance but eliminated the penalty.  The law still wants us to have health insurance; however, the IRS won’t impose a tax penalty for individuals who don’t comply with the law.

The state of Texas claimed that once the individual mandate was removed, the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.  It’s called in severability.  Texas claimed that you can’t separate out the individual mandate provision without the entire law becoming unconstitutional.  Others argue that there is a severability provision in the law and one provision can be removed while the rest of the law stands.

At least 18 disability rights organizations filed an amicus brief in the case, California v. Texas regarding these issues.

 You can find a copy of our brief at

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, private insurance was not often a real option for disabled people.  There were annual limits on benefits, lifetime limits on benefits, bans or waiting periods on coverage for pre-existing conditions or outright refusal to cover items like mental health care, durable medical equipment, and more. Disabled people and young people under the age of 26 had unprecedented access to health and mental health care.


This is one of the most important legal cases on the Affordable Care Ace and it has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Much is at stake.  We do not know how long it will take for the Court to rule on this case.  Sometimes the Court waits until the end of their term to issues their most controversial decisions, which is in June.  All we can do now is wait for the next Congress to get sworn in and watch for any legislation that would anticipate an unfavorable decision from the Supreme Court.

Docket No. 19-840 California, et al., Petitioners v. Texas, et al.

Case Numbers (19-10011)

Docket no. 19-1019 Texas, et al., Petitioners v. California, et al.

Case Numbers (19-10011)