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Listen Live: Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Fate of Obamacare

Will the United States Supreme Court strike down the individual mandate section of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare)? And if it does, will it then decide the rest of the healthcare law cannot stand without it? Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST. You can listen here.

Two consolidated cases are before the court: California v. Texas, and Texas v. California. The outgoing administration of President Donald Trump wants the entire ACA struck down. The president’s term in office was more than enough to reshape the highest court in the land: Trump nominated and the GOP-led Senate confirmed Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, growing the Supreme Court’s conservative majority. Six of the nine justices have been appointed by Republican presidents.

If the ACA case were to go Trump’s way, that would erase a notable piece of his predecessor President Barack Obama’s legacy. It would also impact the healthcare of millions of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump already took a first step, signing a bill in 2017 that reduced to zero the tax penalty against most people who lacked health insurance. But legal experts largely predict, due to the severability doctrine, that the Supreme Court will rule Obamacare can stand without the individual mandate.

Whatever the court decides, it will likely set the pace of the country’s healthcare policy over at least the next four years—when there will be a new president, a House of Representatives led by Democrats, and a narrowly divided Senate that may or may not belong to the GOP. A decision is expected to come down by May or June 2021.

[Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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