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Trump Wants the Supreme Court to “End” Obamacare. Here’s How They’d Do It.

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Yuri Gripas/Zuma

I hope that they end it.”

That’s what President Donald Trump told CBS this week, referring to an upcoming Supreme Court case that will decide the fate of Obamacare. On November 10, the court—which will almost certainly include three Trump appointees—will hear arguments in the latest Republican challenge to the landmark health care law. If the justices side with Trump, millions of Americans could lose their health coverage. The president has repeatedly insisted that if the Affordable Care Act is eliminated, he’ll somehow replace it with a better health care program and protect people with preexisting conditions. But he hasn’t presented a viable plan to do so.

The case, California v. Texas (in the lower courts, it was called Texas v. United States), hinges on whether Trump’s 2017 tax cuts—which reduced the financial penalty for failing to obtain health insurance to $0—invalidate the entire ACA. Back in 2012, a sharply divided Supreme Court had ruled that the ACA’s individual mandate qualified as a tax and was thus a valid exercise of Congress’ constitutional powers. But late last year—in response to a lawsuit filed by Republicans—a federal appeals court struck down the mandate, reasoning that because the new tax law zeroed out the penalty, the mandate could no longer be considered a tax. Yet the stakes are far higher than the fate of the individual mandate. The GOP plaintiffs, along with the Trump administration, have argued that the mandate is inseverable from the rest of Obamacare—that is, they say that if the mandate is struck down, everything else in the ACA is invalid, too. It’s a brazen argument, widely derided by experts. Now, the conservative-dominated Supreme Court will weigh in.

Nicholas Bagley, a professor of law at the University of Michigan, was one of four health law experts to file an amicus brief in May arguing that the individual mandate is indeed severable from the rest of the ACA and that the law should survive even if the mandate is invalidated. “Any other conclusion,” the scholars write, “would be a judicial usurpation of Congress’s lawmaking power.” In an interview with Mother Jones, Bagley explained the potential consequences of the case and what will happen next if the Supreme Court kills Obamacare. The........

© Mother Jones

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