President-elect Joe Biden is slated to deliver remarks in defense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Tuesday — the same day the Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments in a case that could effectively strike down the law.
Biden, who was serving as Vice President in the Obama Administration when the landmark legislation passed in 2010, has promised to build upon and improve the public health care system set up by the ACA.
Biden faces an uphill battle in enacting legislation on the Senate, where Democrats must win two runoff races in Georgia in January in order to control the chamber.
But because Republicans rushed to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the high court prior to the election, conservatives now hold a 6-3 advantage — and there's a chance the ACA may not even survive long enough for Biden to make changes to the law.
The case, brought by several conservative states and the Trump administration, asserts that one of the law's most controversial items — the individual mandate — is unconstitutional.
The individual mandate required all Americans to be covered by insurance or pay a penalty tax. In 2019, Trump signed a law that removed the individual mandate, allowing conservative states like Texas, to set the penalty rate to $0. Those states now argue that because the individual mandate is not raising revenue, it makes the law unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the case early in early summer.
Biden's remarks on Tuesday come a day after he met with his newly-appointed COVID-19 advisory board — a group that will provide guidance to Biden's transition team about the pandemic. During his address on Monday, Biden stressed that the U.S. will face "a very dark winter," but added there are steps everyone can take to slow the spread of the virus.
"I implore you, wear a mask. A mask is not a political statement," Biden said.
Biden's remarks about the Affordable Care Act are scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. ET.