Republicans Will Find Themselves In Tough Spot If Supreme Court Strikes Down 'Obamacare'

As The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur pointed out in the segment above, if the Supreme Court ends up ruling that the Affordable Care Act, otherwise commonly referred to as "Obamacare" is not Constitutional or against the individual mandate, Republicans
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As The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur pointed out in the segment above, if the Supreme Court ends up ruling that the Affordable Care Act, otherwise commonly referred to as "Obamacare" is not Constitutional or against the individual mandate, Republicans may very well find themselves in a very bad political position, since they do not have any program of their own ready to replace it with.

From Current's coverage of the video above: GOP quickly replaces Boehner-care back-up health care plan — to be used if Affordable Care Act gets repealed — with a ‘vision’:

Current correspondent Jacki Schechner joins Cenk to talk about the GOP’s backup plan in hope that the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act. But “Boehner-care” was immediately considered too controversial, so Republicans back-tracked and said if the ACA is repealed, they’ll introduce their “vision” for health care reform.

“Not an actual plan, but a unicorn and fairy dust vision,” Schechner says. Cenk says, “Because what we needed was more Republican visions.”

As The Hill reported this week, Speaker John Boehner was still vowing to repeal the law entirely: Boehner: Keeping any parts of Obama health law ‘unacceptable’:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterated Thursday that he wants to repeal all of President Obama’s healthcare law if the Supreme Court doesn’t toss out the entire statute.

“We voted to fully repeal the president’s healthcare law as one of our first acts as a new House majority, and our plan remains to repeal the law in its entirety,” Boehner said to reporters. “Anything short of that is unacceptable.” [...]

If the court upholds the entire law or only throws out the mandate, Republicans will have to decide how to handle its politically popular provisions, including the policy that bars insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Conservatives are lobbying their colleagues to avoid the temptation of leaving popular elements in place. Boehner made clear on Thursday that he’s committed to full repeal.

Contrary to that article by The Hill, as TPM reported, it appears Republicans might be trying to have it both ways on what provisions of the law to keep in place and what risks that brings for them politically: Why An Adverse Supreme Court ‘Obamacare’ Ruling Puts Republicans In A Tough Spot:

If the Supreme Court overturns part or all of President Obama’s health care law, House Republicans will find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. They will be implicitly responsible not just for the demise of the individual insurance mandate and other unpopular parts of the Affordable Care Act, but also its popular provisions and the return of some of the insurance industry’s harshest practices, like discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Recent reporting by both the New York Times and Politico suggests the GOP congressional leadership might try to mitigate the political liabilities of HCR being overturned by introducing piecemeal legislation to reinstitute popular pieces of the law — provisions banning discrimination, and allowing children to be covered by their parents’ health benefits until they’re 26. But that creates a host of new practical and political problems for the GOP.

The biggest practical problem is that many of the popular provisions of the law are only affordable and effective in conjunction with the unpopular provisions. That leaves Republicans on the wrong side of insurers and other stakeholders — all of whom know that the consumer protections in the ACA are only possible if people are required to carry health insurance.

“Market reforms won’t work without a mandate,” says an insurance industry source.

Trying to mitigate the effects of HCR being overturned also puts GOP leaders them on the wrong side of the right wing of the party, and of the conservative movement, both furious at the notion that the GOP would let even a single letter of the health care law remain on the books.

Republicans have confronted these difficult hypothetical questions in the past — without the pressure of a looming Supreme Court decision forcing them to act. And their past words and actions suggest they may not be planning to simply re-legislate the popular parts of ‘Obamacare.’ [...]

Republicans could advance those sorts of measures in an attempt to bridge the yawning chasm between the conservative demand for root-and-branch repeal and stakeholders, like insurance companies, who would revolt if the GOP preserved the coverage guarantee in the law.

That’s a strategy Democrats won’t let them get away with easily.

“They want to take the easy part without paying any price,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told Capitol reporters Thursday. “It’s all about the guys who brung them to the dance. It’s about the health insurance industry, and that’s the agenda they’ll probably roll out, taking some of the most popular, least transformative parts of the bill.”

Moreover, Democrats see a strategic opening in the basic fact that Republicans recognize the conundrum — an adverse Supreme Court ruling will widen an existing rift in their party, and the insurance industry will press leaders to pick sides.

That conflict is exactly what Cenk Uygur highlighted in the video up top as well. Republicans are going to have to choose between their base which wants the law repealed and the health insurance industry that wants to keep that mandate in place. We'll see how this all plays out once we finally find out how the Supreme Court ended up ruling on the case, which they've already done but has not been released to the public yet.

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