Politico reports on the political implications of a ruling Friday by a federal judge in Texas, striking down the 2010 Affordable Care Act in its entirety–and setting up a final showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court that could end in millions of Americans losing their health coverage:
Congress was ready to move on from Obamacare.
The midterm elections took repeal off the table, and Democrats were gearing up for a party-defining fight over “Medicare for all.” But Friday night’s ruling by a federal judge in Texas that the Affordable Care Act must be scrapped once again puts the law front and center as Democrats prepare to take back the House just weeks from now.
The ruling is sure to be appealed, and the Trump administration says it’s business as usual in the meantime. But the decision spells bad news for Republicans, by allowing Democrats to replay a potent health care message that helped them flip 40 House seats: that the GOP remains hellbent on gutting Obamacare and rolling back protections for pre-existing conditions…
Colorado Public Radio attempts to put a number on the threat to Coloradans:
The federal judge struck down the entire law, also known as Obamacare. The law will remain in place while the ruling is on appeal, but if it stands, the decision applies to all of the ACA’s protections and regulations, and could strip health insurance coverage from 20 million Americans.
The nonpartisan Colorado Consumer Health Initiative says that includes more than 600,000 Coloradans, because the ruling would scrap both the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and federal financial assistance for coverage in the individual marketplace.
The political consequences of this decision are for the moment more important, but the rightward hardening of the U.S. Supreme Court make the threat of this new adverse ruling much greater in terms of actually repealing en masse the landmark 2010 law responsible for reducing the rate of uninsured across the nation and in Colorado to historic lows. However the case resolves, Republican failure to replace the Affordable Care Act during their two-year period of total control in Washington leaves that party politically responsible for negative outcomes on the issue over the next two years–and at the same time, any solution now must include House Democrats, who have no reason to either make concessions that would be harmful to those covered today or assume the blame for a poorly-crafted GOP fix.
Sitting in the middle of this increasingly perilous situation is Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of the most vulnerable 2020 GOP Senators who campaigned for office on a sloganized promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” Gardner was the figurehead of a wide-ranging campaign of misinformation in Colorado about the Affordable Care Act, falsely claiming that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans “had their coverage cancelled” even as the law drove the rate of uninsured down. This misinformation was uncritically reprinted by local media, deepening public confusion over the law and driving down its popularity.
We’ve said for years that a day of reckoning could very well come for Cory Gardner, when he would be forced to reconcile his bogus claims that “hundreds of thousands of Coloradans lost coverage” with the prospect of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans actually losing coverage via Gardner’s own stated goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Obviously for the sake of those 600,000+ Coloradans, we were not eager to see this as vengefully satisfying as it may be.
Now, just in time for Gardner’s re-election campaign, it looks like that day could be at hand.