Thursday, June 25, 2015

Scenarios for what might follow a SCOTUS opinion against Obamacare

By the time you read this, the opinion might already have been revealed. If not, it's still reasonable to try to guess the aftermath of possible rulings on King v. Burwell.

Greg Sargent (Plum Line/Washington Post) reports that Dems have one-sentence bills ready to roll out in the House and Senate providing a fix for the subsidy problem.

... According to a Democratic leadership source, Democrats already have a one-sentence bill written on both sides — in the House and the Senate — and it will be introduced in both chambers at the "first available opportunity" if the Court ruling requires it.

This provides a hint of how Democrats might try to go on offense against Republicans if the Court nixes the subsidies. Obviously Republicans won’t accept the one-sentence fix. But this suggests Democrats will try to move quickly to exploit the divisions that have already developed among Republicans over their own response to such a ruling.

The GOP divisions are such that even some Obamacare foes are predicting that Republicans will end up caving and agreeing to renew subsidies with few conditions attached.

Read Sargent's post to follow the analyses of what the various GOPlin clans might do. (Yes, there are more than one kind of GOPlin lurking in the Caves of Congress.) He concludes:

To see just how difficult the GOP position will be to explain, try making sense of (Gov. Scott) Walker’s deeply incoherent op-ed for CNN. In it, he claims that under his implementation of Obamacare, "for the first time in state history, everyone living in poverty has access to coverage." But if 184,000 Wisconsinites lose coverage in the wake of a Court ruling, it will be Obamacare’s fault, and Obama should fix the problem by joining Republicans to repeal the law’s benefits for everyone across the country and replace it with a herd of unicorns.

I’d never advise underestimating the obfuscatory power of the GOP’s Obamacare Fog Machine. But the one-sentence fix plans themselves suggest the Democratic position will probably be a lot easier to convey to the public. The polling on this favors the Democrats. If Clinton goes on offense, as she recently signaled she will, you’d think the party will follow her lead effectively.

On the other hand, these are Democrats we’re talking about here…

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