Not Quite Ready for Obamacare Plan B

Even as Republicans try to get their act together to make plans for what they would do if the Supreme Court kills Obamacare purchasing subsidies in 36 states in the case they are expected to decide in June, the Kaiser Health Tracking poll indicates the rank-and-file aren’t on board with any Plan B.

Asked rather blandly if Congress should act in this case “so that people in all states can be eligible for financial help from the government to buy health insurance,” the public at large said “yes” by a 64/27 margin. But among self-identified Republicans “no” wins by a 49-40 margin. In a follow-up question, more Republicans (51%) would favor state action to set up an exchange if necessary, but it’s not clear what conditions they’d expect.

Getting back to the idea of federal remedial action, it’s already going to be a real challenge–to put it mildly–to get majorities of Republicans in both chambers of Congress to agree on some Plan B, which would presumably involve temporary subsidies in exchange for some major changes in the basics of the Affordable Care Act. But if the weight of opinion among the “base” is that Congress should do nothing at all to “fix” Obamacare, you better believe there will be a sizable bloc in Congress that finds some reason for saying no to any Plan B. Time’s a-wasting to change that dynamic.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.