Leaders in the GOP-controlled House and Senate see the court challenge as their best hope for tearing apart a law they have long opposed. If the court strikes down the subsidies, Democrats are expected to clamor for lawmakers to pass a measure correcting the language in the law to revive them. Congressional Republicans say there is no possibility they would allow that.
Greg Sargent notes this could play out as overreach as 30 states aren't going to sit idly by and do nothing with taxpayers suddenly having unaffordable health care because the GOP Congress won't fix it.
It is for this reason that there is a hidden upside in a Supreme Court ruling with the challengers. It just might finally force Republicans to own the consequences of their actual current stance on health reform, which is that they favor blowing up Obamacare and replacing it with nothing. Republicans could very well just allow the disruptions to unfold in hopes that chaos is their political friend in the 2016 election. Alternatively, Republicans could enter into real negotiations to fix the law in exchange for changes they want. Or Republicans could finally coalesce behind an alternative that would purport to expand coverage to those who lost it and continue to go without it. Or maybe that alternative wouldn’t purport to do this. Either way, that alternative could be evaluated against what Obamacare had been doing in many states before SCOTUS gutted it. Then we could re-litigate all this in 2016.
I think Greg has it right with the first option: since when have voters over the last six years punished Republicans for causing chaos? Certainly not in 2010, and they were rewarded with Senate control in 2014 for doing just that.
So yes, Federal exchange states will burn, it'll become a crisis, and voters will blame Obama not for causing the problem, but for being unable to convince Republicans to fix it. If this keeps up for two years, the GOP may coast to an easy win. So what if millions of Americans lose their health care? Most voters will say "Well, the Supreme Court decided the Republicans were right all along" and will choose to punish Democrats.
And the GOP knows it.