To those worried by the prospect that the Supreme Court could rule against Obama in Halbig, I said in February:
[B]e of good cheer. Winning or losing that case won’t matter, it now appears — because, as Orrin Hatch recently made clear, Republicans are going to cave immediately if we win the case:
Hatch said that while Obamacare has hurt millions of people and needs to be ultimately repealed and replaced, Congress should do something in the meantime to mitigate the effects if the high court decides to invalidate that financial aid.
“I don’t think we can stand by and simply let the shortcomings of the law hurt people more,” he said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
“In the coming days, I will release details of a short-term solution for Americans who may be affected,” Hatch said. “That solution will address immediate concerns and set the stage for a permanent solution in the future.”
Of course. You can’t take the goodies away, so you have to give people “short-term, temporary” subsidies until such time as you develop the political courage to . . . make those subsidies long-term and permanent.
Did anyone really expect anything different?
The Senate’s top five Republican leaders have cosponsored legislation to extend until 2017 the Obamacare insurance subsidies that may be struck down by the Supreme Court this summer.
The legislation, offered by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), one of the most politically vulnerable Senate incumbents in 2016, would maintain the federal HealthCare.gov tax credits at stake in King v. Burwell through the end of August 2017.
Of course, it’s wrong to say the subsidies might be “struck down” by the Court, or to say that the GOP has a plan to “restore” them. If the Supreme Court rules against Obama, it will be a recognition that Congress never provided for these subsidies to begin with.
But look: you can’t expect Republicans to make a principled stand on this. They have to extend the subsidies that ObamaCare never provided in the first place, to keep voters happy who are used to being on the ObamaCare dole. Republicans will do this only until they no longer have an election coming up that they want to win. Which is . . . never. So of course they have to accept the progressive, pro-statist solution in perpetuity. Because the alternative is standing up and saying this is wrong, and only Ted Cruz is willing to do that and it’s Unpopular and so we can’t do it right now. Or anytime soon. Or ever.
If you’re keeping score, those who say Republicans are little different from Democrats just won another round. They win a lot of those rounds lately, huh?