A blockbuster Supreme Court day

Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act, keeping Obamacare in place

Attorney General Bonta Celebrates Supreme Court Decision in California v. Texas — Upholding the Affordable Care Act

But it also voted 7-2 to preserve the Affordable Care Act, saying Republican attorneys general did not have the legal standing to bring their lawsuit.

In an official statement later, Biden expanded on the significance of the Supreme Court's decision and what it means for everyday Americans.

© J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE In this March 23, 2010, file photo, President Barack Obama signs the health care bill in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

THE US SUPREME Court today rejected a bid by Republican-led states to overturn Obamacare, safeguarding the health insurance of millions with the coronavirus pandemic still a threat in much of America.

Noting the current Supreme Court's even more conservative makeup than during past challenges, Isasi added that the court's "strong opinion will nearly certainly foreclose other craven, ideological lawsuits".

Twenty states including Democratic-governed California and NY and the Democratic-led House of Representatives intervened in the case to try to preserve Obamacare after Mr Trump had refused to defend the law. Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch were the only members of the nine-person court who dissented.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the lawsuit was "an invitation to judicial activism from the start".

Biden's administration in February urged the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare, reversing the position taken by the government under Trump, who left office in January. But critically, the court punted on whether the rest of the massive law - even provisions unrelated to the mandate - could remain on the books. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Amy Coney Barret, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas. "It is a victory for more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and millions more who were in immediate danger of losing their health care in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic". The lawsuit had claimed that the individual mandate led state residents to enroll in state programs such as Medicaid.

"Thanks to the tireless advocacy of Americans across the country and the work of Democrats in Congress, the Affordable Care Act endures", said Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives.

Plus, the American Rescue Plan, approved by Congress earlier this year and signed into law by President Joe Biden, offers additional financial incentive for the holdout states to expand Medicaid. He and other Democrats had criticized Republican efforts to strike down the law at a time when the US was grappling with a deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the Supreme Court's 6-3 conservative majority, the Republican Obamacare challengers came away disappointed in a ruling in which all three liberal justices were joined by four of the six conservative justices.

Republicans fiercely opposed Obamacare when it was proposed, failed to repeal it when they controlled both chambers of Congress and have been unsuccessful in getting courts to invalidate the law. Opposition to Obamacare seems to have receded as a political issue for many Republicans as their party has emphasised other matters such as immigration, voting restrictions and hot-button "culture war" issues.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act argued that because the penalty is now $0, the provision in the law that requires everyone to buy insurance is no longer valid.

The Supreme Court previously upheld Obamacare by deeming the financial penalty under the individual mandate a tax permissible under the US Constitution's language empowering Congress to levy taxes. Opponents of the ACA argue that because the individual mandate is essential to how the law operates, the entire law should be struck down as unconstitutional.

This decision marks the third time the nation's highest court has considered a significant legal challenge to the ACA-and the third time the justices allowed the law to stand.