What does this mean? This means that the Supreme Court found that the plaintiffs had not suffered a harm by the enforcement of the individual mandate under the ACA, even though the mandate penalty was effectively zeroed out under a 2017 budget bill. With this ruling, the justices did not address the underlying issues of the case – whether the individual mandate is a true mandate, not a tax, and whether the ACA could remain in place without the individual mandate. Instead, the justices focused on the first step of bringing a case, which is standing. If a party lacks standing or a harm inflected upon them caused by the issue at hand, then the case may go no further.
What will happen next? For the foreseeable future, the ACA will remain in place and the “law of the land”. However, as we have learned since it was signed in to law, there is never a shortage of legal challenges when it comes to the ACA.