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Here’s how Democrats can save Obamacare

Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman breaks down how Democrats are looking to save Obamacare.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: It's time for "Word on the Street," where we check in with our panelists and find out what stories they are watching. Well, in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing, of course, a lot of attention on the Supreme Court.

One of the cases they are set to hear just after the election-- about a week after, I believe-- has to do with the Affordable Care Act. Rick, you are sort of theorizing about what Democrats can do to save that law.

RICK NEWMAN: Yeah. So the Supreme Court case-- it's kind of a surprise it made it all the way to the Supreme Court. But this could actually spell doom for Obamacare, for the Affordable Care Act, if there is one more justice added to the court who is opposed to the ACA and would vote to strike it down.

I mean, we know there are already four votes on the court that probably could be persuaded to do that. So people are extremely nervous that this vacancy could be the end of the Affordable Care Act.

However, this could be so easily fixed with legislation that would address the core issue in this lawsuit and essentially render the whole lawsuit moot. It's a technical argument. But if Congress were to do something as simple as to say, we're going to reinstate a penalty for the individual mandate, which was zeroed out in 2017. If they just raised that to $1, it would essentially eliminate the entire argument and this case would be moot.

Now, in order to do that, you'd have to have Democrats controlling not just the House, but the Senate also. And you'd have to have a president who would sign that legislation. Trump is not going to do that. But if Joe Biden wins, and he wins big enough that Democrats take control of the Senate next year, that could very well happen, and this whole ACA case at the Supreme Court wouldn't even matter.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Well, Rick, be careful what you pray for, right? Because isn't Biden already using health care with the Supreme Court as an issue now on the campaign trail? We saw that health care work for the Democrats to get the House in 2018.

RICK NEWMAN: Well, that's now. I think you're right. I mean, it's only been three days since Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. But I mean, this is-- health care is an issue that Biden was trying to exploit in the first place, because Democrats are generally a lot stronger on this than President Trump, who doesn't have a health care plan.

I should remind people, Trump said over the summer he would tell everybody what his health care plan is by the end of August. And he hasn't. So Trump doesn't even have a health care plan.

He does still want to repeal the ACA. And the Trump administration is a party to that lawsuit that, as we've been discussing, the Supreme Court's going to hear one week after Election Day on November 10.