Today (June 17, 2021), the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) on procedural grounds, ducking the larger constitutionality question and leaving in place the broad provisions of the law, including the employer mandate requirements.
In CALIFORNIA ET AL. v. TEXAS ET AL., Texas and other Republican-led states sought to strike down the ACA because the tax penalty for individuals who fail to have health insurance was reduced to zero. In the 7-2 decision, Justice Stephen Breyer held that the plaintiffs did not suffer any injury from the zeroing out of the penalty and thus lacked legal standing to bring the lawsuit. Therefore, the Court never reached the constitutionally question. In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, accused the majority of ducking the constitutional issues that many conservatives have argued make the ACA unconstitutional. If the Court had held that the ACA was unconstitutional, its decision could have caused major disruption for the health care coverages for a considerable number of Americans.
You can read the ruling here.