Now What for Obamacare Haterz?

One of the more interesting reactions to the SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell was this one from Josh Barro:

He’s right. Had the Court upheld Obamacare subsidies on the grounds of the Chevron doctrine as a deferral to agency interpretations of an ambiguous statute, then presumably that interpretation could be reversed by a future administration. So before you could say “Ted Cruz” you’ve got a litmus test wherein the entire GOP field would have to swear to do just that on January 20, 2017, approximately ten seconds after taking the Oath of Office. This posture would also carry the implied obligation to have a fully thought-out Obamacare “replacement” lest six million people or so lose their health insurance, and a feasible strategy for enacting it real fast after the subsidies are yanked.

Now those subsidies are safe until such time as Congress and the president have acted to change or kill or replace them. For that very reason, though, Republican rhetoric on Obamacare is likely to go far off the rails, and won’t become sober again until action to do something about it becomes proximate. That’s just the way it will work.

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.