Facing its third and likely most serious legal challenge since it became law in 2010, Obamacare is slated to head back to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Justices will hear oral arguments in a case challenging a central provision of President Barack Obama‘s signature health care law.
They’ll focus on just a single section of the law governing the establishment of so-called health exchanges. But while the scope may be narrow, the stakes are enormous.
The arguments could provide hints about whether the justices believe the law does not authorize the government to provide federal subsidies for Obamacare beneficiaries in the 34 states that didn’t establish their own exchange. A ruling is not expected until May or June, but If the Court ultimately rules against the Obama administration, more than 5 million individuals will no longer be eligible for the subsidies, shaking up the insurance market and potentially dealing the law a fatal blow.
It is the third time that parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, have landed on the steps of the nation’s highest court. The Huffington Post reports:
Three years ago, in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate that most Americans obtain health insurance. The Supreme Court last year weakened Obamacare’s birth-control coverage rule in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, a case with religious-freedom implications.
Unlike the Lehman Brothers, Obamacare is “too big to fail” and it’s also a law. We hope the court will uphold it once again.