President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy have left many to wonder: What will replacing an often swing vote with a more conservative one mean for health care? There are many pending cases in lower courts that, if they make it a more conservative Supreme Court, could define health policy for years to come.
Nineteen conservative states, led by the Texas attorney general, are seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would not defend the law in court. The agency argued that with the abolishment of the individual mandate penalty in 2019, community rating and guaranteed issue — the rules that protect those with preexisting conditions — are unconstitutional. If the case makes it to the Supreme Court, the newest member could be a deciding vote on whether or not preexisting condition protections should continue.
Though a recent poll found that both men and women support by a two-to-one margin Roe v. Wade, which struck down state laws restricting access to abortion, a number of abortion-related cases are working their way through lower courts. They directly ask critical questions, from at how many weeks abortion should be allowed to what type of facilities and providers can terminate a pregnancy. These cases could all be opportunities for the high court to preserve or limit access to abortion in the United States.
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