Despite unprecedented partisanship, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) traced a familiar political arc: a loud debate full of dramatic symbols, a messy legislative process, clashes over implementation, a slow rise in popularity, entrenchment as part of the health care system, and growing support that blocked Congress from repealing. The politics of the ACA looked, from one angle, like a louder version of health politics as usual. But something new was stirring. Opponents pushed the debate outside the elected branches of government and into the courts—a move that reflects past eras of highly racialized conflict. A federal court marked the ACA's tenth anniversary by doing what Congress could not: it struck down the law, although the litigation continues to wend its way through the court system. The ongoing challenge to the ACA rests on a fundamental critique of the entire New Deal dispensation in jurisprudence. The consequence could be a new era in health care politics.

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