WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
The signature policy of former President Barack Obama brought health insurance to about 20 million people, including nearly two million Floridians, where more people registered for coverage this year than in any other state.READ MORE: Collins Park Garage In Miami Beach Achieves Leadership In Energy And Environmental Design Gold Certification
Miami-Dade County has the highest Obamacare enrollment of any county in the country.
The Supreme Court ruled eight years ago to leave Obamacare intact, but President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are arguing to have it overturned. They argue Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional because Congress eliminated the financial penalty for individuals who fail to obtain health insurance coverage.
The Republican-led states and the Justice Department also claim that if the individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court, the rest of Obamacare should fall with it, as the provision is intertwined with the law.
If the court agrees with the Republicans, millions of Americans could lose their health care coverage.
However, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh have both signaled they disagree with arguments that Obamacare should fall if its individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional.
California is leading the group of Democratic-controlled states urging the court to leave the law in place.READ MORE: Clear Masks Make It Possible For Children To See A Teacher's Facial Expressions At Baptist Health System Learning Centers
Proponents say it lowers health care costs for consumers and prohibits insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. It also allows young adults to remain on their parent’s health care plans until age 26.
Opponents say many aren’t getting needed care due to high costs and deductibles.
This is one of the first cases heard by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the conservative jurist confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She replaces liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.
President-elect Joe Biden is fighting to defend Obamacare.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Biden promised to fight to protect health care for every American, saying his transition team is getting “right to work” building on the Affordable Care Act.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaking before Mr. Biden, said every vote for their ticket was a vote to protect and expand on the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Biden said the outcome of the Supreme Court case is a matter of “life and death” for many Americans, in a literal sense. The president-elect promised to do everything he can to protect health care for all Americans.MORE NEWS: Gov. Ron DeSantis Taps Doctor, Researcher Joseph Ladapo 'We're Done With Fear' As New Surgeon General
“They need a lifeline and they need it now,” he said of families facing health crises.