Republicans are in real danger of getting something they badly want. Except that they are just realizing that if they get it, it will backfire badly on them. Rock, meet hard place!
One of the cornerstones of the Republican party over the last 6 years has been to oppose everything Obama does (even if it was their idea in the first place). There is nothing they have fought against harder than the ACA, which they have derisively labeled Obamacare. They filibustered it, but it passed anyway despite dire predictions that it would destroy the country. They have voted numerous times to repeal it and have sabotaged it at every turn, even if it meant people dying.
It is safe to say that Republicans hate Obamacare with all their heart and soul. And suddenly there is a chance to destroy it. Last summer, two Republican-appointed federal judges (despite a furious dissent of the lone Democratic appointee) ruled in favor of a patently ridiculous lawsuit that was hatched by a right-wing think tank for the sole purpose of destroying the ACA. The lawsuit takes advantage of what is widely regarded as a typo in the wording of the law. If the lawsuit wins, federal subsidies for health insurance would be eliminated in all states that use the federal health insurance exchange.
As a result, around 7 million Americans will lose their insurance. Over ten thousand people with life threatening cancer will no longer get their chemotherapy, and another ten thousand people with bad kidneys will lose their dialysis.
The lawsuit works more on the level of an elaborate prank than as a serious reading of the law. And yet it stands at least some chance of success — it only needs to persuade Republican-appointed judges. That prospect has grown suddenly unnerving because, unlike previous Republican efforts to strangle the law, the current one comes as Obamacare is functioning extremely well. Premiums on the exchanges have come in well under projected costs, customers report higher satisfaction with their coverage than those who have employer-sponsored insurance, and overall medical costs have grown far below the projected rate. It is one thing to take away a scheduled future subsidy, of which most intended beneficiaries are unaware. It is quite another to take away a benefit they’re already using.
Perhaps even worse, even the health insurance companies like Obamacare, as they are making lots of money off of it. Is there anything scarier to a Republican politician that losing some fat campaign contributions?
So what do Republicans do? If the Supreme Court goes along with this stupid lawsuit, Obama will certainly propose fixing the typo in the law. If Republicans vote for the fix, they will be crucified by their base. If they vote against it, it will be a public relations disaster of epic proportions for them.
For now, all they are doing is secretly hoping that the Supreme Court rules against them!