Courts, not Congress, will decide if ACA gets dismantled

As Republican lawmakers continue their attacks on the Affordable Care Act, they pin much of their hopes on the courts to dismantle the healthcare reform law, reported The Hill.

Although the GOP made major gains in the midterm elections, President Barack Obama still has veto power over any bills undoing any part of the reform law. So instead Republicans are filing several lawsuits, hoping the courts will rule in their favor.

In fact, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the subsidy case is the best opportunity to break down the healthcare reform law, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. "The chances of [Obama] signing a full repeal are pretty limited," McConnell said at a Wall Street Journal event, The Hill noted. "Who may ultimately take [the ACA] down is the Supreme Court of the United States."

The GOP's court-centered method to dismantle the ACA was boosted after the Supreme Court decided to hear the federal subsidies case of King v. Burwell. Although states could potentially step in and "save" the reform law if the subsidies are ruled illegal, many healthcare experts still believe such a ruling could be the undoing of the ACA.

A few weeks after the high court said it would decide the ACA subsidy challenge, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that the House of Representatives filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, claiming the White House violated the Constitution while implementing the healthcare reform law.

Another GOP-supported lawsuit, which challenges the individual mandate, advanced in the court system. Last week, a federal appeals panel heard the case, Sissel v. HHS, which argues that the mandate's taxes are unconstitutional because they originated in the wrong chamber, The Hill noted.

Nonetheless, Republicans still plan to bring forth a bill to repeal Obamacare, McConnell said in an interview with the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Roll Call blog. The GOP plans to focus on particularly unpopular parts of the law, such as the medical device tax.

To learn more:
- read The Hill article
- read the Roll Call interview