There’s no question the conventional wisdom among all Republicans, most MSM “observers,” and quite a few Democrats is that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 represented an “overreach” by the Obama administration, and/or a fatal distraction from the really significant economic challenges it faced. In other words, Obama should have waited for a more propitious moment, at the very least.

It’s interesting, then, what a new AP-GfK survey shows the American people think should happen if ObamaCare is invalidated by the Supreme Court:

If the Supreme Court rules that the health care reforms passed in March 2010 are unconstitutional, what do you think the President and Congress should do about the health care system?

19% said “leave the health care system as it is,” and 77% said “start work on a new health care reform bill.”

That’s not surprising when you think about it. Of the 40-60% of Americans who express opposition to “ObamaCare” in one form or another, probably a fourth oppose it because it’s not single payer, and half the rest support all the individual components of ACA but either don’t understand it, don’t trust the government to implement it correctly, and/or have bought some of the big lies about it like the “death panel” smear.

That’s why I’d bet quite a few Republican pols secretly hope the Court leaves ObamaCare alone. Aside from giving them a hobgoblin to rattle, that development would avoid the fateful day when the public begins to understand ACA more accurately, and Republicans have to (a) figure out what kind of health care reforms they can support as a party now that they’ve demonized so much of their own past thinking (i.e., the individual mandate), and (b) get some real scrutiny for such shabby “reforms” as interstate health insurance sales, which sound fine until you think hard for a few moments about how they’d actually work.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.