There are concerns that the court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority thanks to Trump’s recent appointment of Amy Coney Barret as associate justice, which could give the GOP an edge.
Industry experts are also concerned that a divided US Congress – with the Senate dominated by Republicans and the House controlled by the Democrats – could leave Democrats unable to overturn a ruling which ultimately invalidates the healthcare law.
“If Biden had won the presidency and Democrats had taken the Senate, there was a good chance that Democrats would adopt a fix to put the Affordable Care Act back on its feet,” University of Michigan Law School professor Nicholas Bagley told Bloomberg. “But that kind of fix is really off the table if Republicans control the Senate.”
Following Tuesday’s election, the Senate stands at 48-48, but Republicans are leading based on projections in the uncalled states of North Carolina and Alaska.
The ACA, also known as Obamacare, provides health insurance to 20 million people. Advocates for the law have urged the court to uphold the law, warning that abolishing the ACA could lead to chaos – particularly as the country is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If the Supreme Court invalidates the entire ACA, and the Democrats do not take the Senate, it absolutely imperils the health and economic well-being of millions of Americans,” said Jaime Santos, a lawyer who filed a brief on behalf of over 80 advocacy groups.
“Abolishing the Affordable Care Act would be deeply damaging to the American healthcare system and public health,” said American Public Health Association executive director Georges Benjamin in a statement.
Reuters reported that the Supreme Court justices will hear an expanded 80-minute oral argument via teleconference.