Maddow Producer: John Roberts ‘Did the GOP An Enormous Favor’ By Upholding Obamacare Subsidies

In the lead-up to the King v. Burwell decision, not a few liberals claimed that most Republicans secretly wanted the Supreme Court to uphold certain Obamacare subsidies because quashing them would have caused major political hassles for the GOP.

The SCOTUS ruled Thursday morning, and before noon we had examples of the updated conventional wisdom: Republicans are happy with the decision, which will spare them harm in the 2016 elections. One post in this vein came from Steve Benen, a producer for MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and the main writer for the TRMS blog.

Benen commented that “Democrats aren’t the only ones breathing a sigh of relief this morning” and asserted that chief justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, “did the GOP an enormous favor -- had the court created systemic chaos, and scrapped benefits for millions of red-state families, Republicans would have confronted an incredible mess they were woefully unprepared to clean up. Worse, there’s a big election coming up, and the GOP was poised to be on the hook for hurting a lot of people out of nothing but spite.”

Now, Benen snarked, “Republicans can go back to doing what they’re good at: whining incessantly about an effective law, while avoiding any actual work on health care policy.”

From Benen’s post (bolding added):

Ask any Republican in Washington – or in any gubernatorial office, for that matter – and they’ll express on-the-record disappointment that President Obama won big today at the U.S. Supreme Court. 

But let’s be clear…Democrats aren’t the only ones breathing a sigh of relief this morning.

…[C]ongressional Republicans have made no progress in creating an alternative to the Affordable Care Act – despite more than five years of broken promises – and in all likelihood, they never would.

We also knew that most of those who would suffer from a plaintiff victory in King v. Burwell would be middle-income families in red states who would naturally look to their GOP representatives for help. Those same representatives would face enormous pressure from right-wing institutions to let the American health care system burn and treat affected families like collateral damage in a political war.

And then there were the Republican governors – some of whom also happen to be presidential candidates – who would have been under pressure to create exchange marketplaces in their states to prevent constituents from suffering. Of course, those same governors would have simultaneously faced equal pressure from partisans and ideologues to do exactly nothing.

…Roberts just did the GOP an enormous favor – had the court created systemic chaos, and scrapped benefits for millions of red-state families, Republicans would have confronted an incredible mess they were woefully unprepared to clean up. Worse, there’s a big election coming up, and the GOP was poised to be on the hook for hurting a lot of people out of nothing but spite.

…Republicans can go back to doing what they’re good at: whining incessantly about an effective law, while avoiding any actual work on health care policy.

A month ago, Benen blogged, “Even proponents of the King case itself must realize that they’re pushing a con that’s so brazen, it’s genuinely insulting to anyone with the slightest grasp of reality…I’m 42 and I’ve followed politics closely for as long as I can remember. I’ve never [seen] anything quite as idiotic as this.”

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential 2016 Congressional Judiciary Health Care Medical Insurance Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBCNews.com MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show ObamaCare U.S. Supreme Court Steve Benen John Roberts (Justice)


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