Republicans got to work immediately deciding how yesterday’s decision on the Affordable Care Act should inform their political game plan.
A year and a half ago, House Republicans passed a bill to repeal the health care law. Those Republicans met again yesterday to plan out their next steps. One of those House Republicans is Scott Garrett of New Jersey, who reaffirmed that the GOP would continue its efforts to repeal the Act in its entirety. "[We Republicans want to] begin again with a more thoughtful process [to propose] a bill that deals with each piece, step by step, all aspects of healthcare. That's the way that the Republicans always wanted to do it, and if we get the chance, we will." Garrett is the author of a bill currently in the House that would repeal the individual mandate.
Ten months ago yesterday, 26 states filed separate petitions asking the Supreme Court to review the Affordable Care Act. One of those petitions was signed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. While disappointed, DeWine calls the Supreme Court's decision "fascinating" due to Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts' decision to regard the mandate as a tax, which supporters of the bill denied. "The Obama administration sold it as not a tax, and most of the lower courts who looked at it didn't think it was a tax, but hey, the U.S. Supreme Court said it was a tax, so it becomes a tax."
While the attorney general says he will continue to oppose the Act, now that the issue of constitutionality is closed, the matter is out of his hands. "It moves now to the political arena," DeWine says. "It becomes a preeminent issue of this presidential campaign."
Todd Zwillich, the Takeaway's Washington correspondent, discusses the initial reaction from the GOP. "Full repeal is the message of both Mitt Romney [and] House Republicans," Zwillich says. "They're on message here. They're not changing their tune at all."
However, Zwillich notes a shift in that message in a speech that Romney gave yesterday in Washington, where the Republican presidential candidate declared the Act to be bad policy. "Romney's argument all along was that it had been unconstitutional. [The Act] was O.K. to try in Massachusetts, but not for the federal government because it's a constitutional issue. Saying it was bad policy, in a way, repudiates the Massachusetts model as well. He'll probably have to hone that message a bit."