The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Democratic appeal seeking to reaffirm the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality, taking up a blockbuster case without putting it on track for a ruling before the November election.

The justices will review a federal appeals court decision that found part of the original 2010 Obamacare law unconstitutional and left doubt about the rest of it. President Donald Trump’s administration is largely backing efforts by Republican-led states to invalidate the law, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Democratic-run states had sought sought fast-track review of their appeal to ensure a decision by June. The court instead will hear arguments in the nine-month term that starts in October, with a ruling likely in the first half of 2021.

The Democrats argued that the nation’s health-care system is too important to allow continued uncertainty.

The appeals court ruling “cast doubt on the validity of the entire ACA, arguably the most consequential package of legislative reforms of this century,” a California-led group of 20 states plus the District of Columbia argued in the appeal. “That uncertainty threatens adverse consequences for patients, providers and insurers nationwide.”

The Obamacare fight stems from a provision known as the individual mandate, which originally required people to acquire health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld that provision, with Chief Justice John Roberts calling it a legitimate use of Congress’s taxing power. A Republican-controlled Congress later joined with Trump to zero-out the tax penalty, leaving the mandate without any practical consequences.

‘Chronically Uncertain’
The New Orleans-based appeals court said the mandate was unconstitutional without a tax penalty attached to it. The appeals court didn’t decide whether the rest of the law could stand, instead returning the case to a federal trial judge for closer scrutiny.

At the Supreme Court, the Trump administration and states led by Texas said the justices should let that process go forward.

“Immediate review is unwarranted in the case’s present posture because the court of appeals did not definitively resolve any question of practical consequence,” U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in court papers for the administration.

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