The Supreme Court heard its third challenge to ObamaCare on Tuesday, and a decision won't be out until next spring. But the early assessments after oral arguments wrapped up should give backers of the Affordable Care Act some comfort—it looks like the law will survive again. Coverage:
- "Most of the Affordable Care Act appeared likely to survive," writes Sam Baker at Axios. He notes that Chief Justice John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh "suggested they’re unlikely to throw out the entire health care law, as Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration have urged. Their votes would be enough to save it."
- That assessment is a common one. "The bulk of the Affordable Care Act ... appeared likely to survive," writes Adam Liptak in the New York Times. He, too, concluded that Roberts and Kavanaugh would join the court's three liberal justices in saving the bulk of the law, even though Republicans scrapped a key component of it, the individual mandate. "In legal terms, they said the mandate was severable from the rest of the law," writes Liptak.
- At the AP, Mark Sherman agrees with all of the above. It's possible the court will determine that the mandate itself is unconstitutional, but it doesn't appear that Roberts and Kavanaugh would be willing to kill the entire law if that's the case. He quotes Roberts: "Would Congress want the rest of the law to survive if the unconstitutional provision were severed? Here, Congress left the rest of the law intact. That seems to be a compelling answer to the question."
- John Kruzel of the Hill agrees, too, and he quotes Kavanaugh to make the point: "Looking at our severability precedents, it does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the act in place, the provisions regarding preexisting conditions and the rest."
- Ditto at the Washington Post, whose story is written by multiple reporters. They note that Roberts wrote the 2012 opinion keeping the law intact and say he (and Kavanaugh) seem inclined to do that again. Another Roberts quote, in regard to the individual mandate: “I think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act,” Roberts told Texas solicitor Kyle Hawkins. He suggested lawmakers wanted the court to do that for them, "but that's not our job."
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