The Supreme Court’s latest rejection of a Republican effort to dismantle “Obamacare” signals anew that the GOP must look beyond repealing the law if it wants to hone the nation’s health care problems into a winning political issue.
Thursday’s 7-2 ruling was the third time the court has rebuffed major GOP challenges to former President Barack Obama’s prized health care overhaul. Stingingly for Republicans, the decision emerged from a bench dominated 6-3 by conservative-leaning justices, including three appointed by President Donald Trump.
Those high court setbacks have been atop dozens of failed Republican repeal attempts in Congress. Most spectacularly, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., flashed a thumbs-down that doomed Trump’s drive to erase the law in 2017.
Along with the public’s gradual but decisive acceptance of the statute, the court rulings and legislative defeats underscore that the law, passed in 2010 despite overwhelming GOP opposition, is probably safe. And it spotlights a remarkable progression of the measure from a political liability that cost Democrats House control just months after enactment to a widely accepted bedrock of the medical system, delivering care to what the government says is more than 30 million people.