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US Supreme Court rejects Trump-backed challenge to Obamacare

The US Supreme Court building in Washington, US May 17, 2021. (Reuters photo)

The US Supreme Court has rejected a Republican bid backed by former president Donald Trump's administration to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

The move on Thursday preserved the landmark healthcare law for the third time since it was enacted in 2010 during the administration of Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

The law has been the subject of relentless Republican hostility, however, attempts to repeal it failed, as did two earlier Supreme Court challenges, in 2012 and 2015.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court rejected a claim by Texas and 17 other Republican-led states that a recent change to the law made it unconstitutional.

The challengers called on the court to rule that a law’s requirement for nearly all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay an income tax penalty — known as the individual mandate — is unconstitutional. Therefore, they said, the entire law must be scrapped.

The 7-2 ruling, however, declared the challengers had no legal standing to lodge their lawsuit seeking to nullify the law which has insured tens of millions of Americans and was one of the most consequential healthcare measures in US history.

Justice Thomas wrote, “We must assess the current suit on its own terms. And, here, there is a fundamental problem with the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs in attacking the act — they have not identified any unlawful action that has injured them. Today’s result is thus not the consequence of the court once again rescuing the act, but rather of us adjudicating the particular claims the plaintiffs chose to bring.”

Meanwhile Democratic President Joe Biden, whose administration opposed the lawsuit, said "Today's US Supreme Court decision is a major victory for all Americans benefiting from this groundbreaking and life-changing law."

"It is time to move forward and keeping building on this landmark law," Biden added, encouraging more Americans to use Obamacare to obtain coverage.

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