While the country grappled with the COVID19 pandemic, in late June the Trump administration renewed calls to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Major protections provided by the law are at risk, including the ability to extend coverage to a dependent under age 26 and prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
This news comes as part of a continuing effort to overturn the ACA. In 2017, Congress set the individual mandate tax penalty to zero, and in 2018 a trial court found the entirety of the ACA to be unconstitutional. A federal appeals court ruled in late 2019 that the mandate was not constitutional but sent the case back to trial court to determine whether this decision invalidated the entire law. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear the case. Despite remaining quiet on the decision in 2018, the Trump administration wrote a brief to the Supreme Court in late June 2020 supporting the lawsuit.
The Supreme Court likely will not consider the case until at least November 2020, based on the recently released calendar of arguments for October 2020 that includes cases which were postponed from this spring due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, millions of Americans who are unemployed due to the pandemic or who are eligible for expanded Medicaid under the ACA are still able to access coverage. The fate of the ACA, and how the COVID19 pandemic affects public opinion, remains to be seen.