Once again, the healthcare industry will be closely watching the Supreme Court on Thursday to see whether the high court delivers an opinion in the controversial case that could overturn the Affordable Care Act, throwing coverage for millions into question.
There’s no guarantee the decision will come down Thursday as the court does not broadcast which cases it will decide beforehand. The court still has more than 20 cases to decide, according to SCOTUSblog, a news group that closely follows the happenings of the court.
The key question is whether the individual mandate is unconstitutional and, if so, can it be severed from the rest of the monumental health law?
A group of red states and two men with marketplace plans argue that the individual mandate is no longer constitutional because it can longer be considered as a tax after Republicans in Congress dialed back the financial penalty for forgoing insurance to $0 in 2017.
Backers of the ACA hope that if the justices find the law unconstitutional they will take a scalpel to it, extracting the individual mandate, and essentially preserving the status quo and averting a coverage crisis if the law were to fall in its entirety. But the potential options are many, including nixing the mandate plus some related provisions or scrapping it altogether.
The law is so deeply ingrained into the healthcare system that insurers, hospitals and many observers fear a ruling against the law altogether could throw the system into chaos.
Below are some key stories from the archive that explain how the industry arrived at this point.