Biden declines to discuss a plan B if the Supreme Court kills Obamacare

Key Points
  • Presidential candidate Joe Biden says in a Tuesday morning interview that he does not want to talk about a backup plan for Obamacare if it is killed by the Supreme Court.
  • "Look, this is a court that's ruled it's constitutional twice," Biden says. "We'll see. I'm not going to go down that route and speculate what's going to happen in a negative sense."
  • A federal appeals court is set to decide whether to uphold a Texas court judge's decision to strike down the health-care reform law that was passed in 2010 under former President Barack Obama.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden
Scott Olson | Getty Images

Presidential candidate Joe Biden said in a Tuesday morning interview that he did not want to discuss a backup plan for Obamacare if it is killed by the Supreme Court.

"Look, this is a court that's ruled it's constitutional twice," Biden told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "We'll see. I'm not going to go down that route and speculate what's going to happen in a negative sense."

The former vice president dodged questions about what he would do if the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The court is composed of five judges appointed by Republican presidents and four appointed by Democrats. Biden said Tuesday he didn't want to share an alternative plan "because we're going to get this one done."

The fate of Obamacare is unclear. Last Tuesday, a federal appeals court panel heard arguments over whether Obamacare is constitutional. The panel will decide whether to uphold a Texas judge's decision to strike down the health-care reform law that was passed in 2010 under former President Barack Obama.

Judges deliberated on whether the ACA was unjustified after President Donald Trump signed a law in 2017 that would eliminate a tax penalty that enforced a mandate requiring all Americans to buy health insurance.

Legal experts say it is unlikely that the ACA will be repealed in its entirety. However, the case's outcome could have sweeping effects on the election and it will likely be brought to the Supreme Court if struck down by the appeals Court.

Since its passing in 2010, Republicans have repeatedly tried and failed to repeal Obamacare. In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld most of the plan's provisions, including the mandate that would penalize those without insurance.

However, in March the Trump administration went after Obamacare again, saying that it supports a federal judge's ruling that the ACA is unconstitutional.

Trump's Justice Department filed its determination on March 25 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. In December, an opinion is expected from U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor.

About 32 million more people could be uninsured by 2026 if the ACA is repealed and not replaced, according to 2017 estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Biden unveiled an outline of his health-care plan Monday. He said he would build on Obamacare by adding a public option.

His plan also detailed how Biden would lower premiums, focus on providing health care to lower-income communities, regulate prescription drug prices, and provide premium tax credits to middle-class families.

Biden has vocally opposed Medicare for All, a government-run plan promoted by fellow candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that would eliminate private insurance.

VIDEO2:1902:19
How insurance premiums and deductibles work
Next Article
Key Points
  • A federal appeals court in New Orleans will hear arguments on Tuesday over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in a case that could have sweeping ramifications for the nation's health system.
  • Legal experts say that it is unlikely that the appeals court will strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.
  • A decision could come by fall, potentially igniting new arguments over health care in the midst of the 2020 campaign.