Republicans want the Supreme Court to blow a major hole in Obamacare next year, but they are still debating whether they would help repair it—and what they should ask for in return.
There's a very real chance the high court will invalidate Obamacare's insurance subsidies in most of the country, which would be devastating for the health care law. It would become almost entirely unworkable in most states, and the cost of coverage would skyrocket.
That loss for the Affordable Care Act might seem like a clear-cut political win for the GOP, but the reality would be far messier. The law would still require people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, leaving people on the hook for a product that—sans subsidies—they could not afford. And as many of those people live in Republican-run states or 2016 battlegrounds, they'll be asking for a solution.
That would leave Republicans with a difficult choice: Do they continue to push for an all-out repeal of the law—creating a standoff with Democrats who will dig in in the hopes of legislation undoing the Supreme Court's decision—or do they seek a deal that alleviates the law's burden on those who've lost their subsidies? Such a deal would likely include pullbacks of major parts of the law, but it would also require Republicans to give up on a full "root-and-branch" repeal.
Let's be honest here. A SCOTUS decision that wrecks Obamacare here will absolutely, positively be a 100% clear-cut political win for the GOP.
After SCOTUS destroys federal exchange subsidies, Republicans will then demand Obamacare be fully repealed and doing so will become the major campaign issue of 2016, because Democrats are pathetic, whining losers.
States with federal-run exchanges include Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan, the states that will pretty much decide 2016's White House winner. And Republicans in those states know damn well they can run ads saying OBAMACARE WILL COST YOU THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A MONTH NOW and they won't have to lift a finger to fix a damn thing, and most likely they'll win easily.
Since when do voters punish Republicans for wrecking the country when they can blame Obama and win?
What's the downside?