Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated the obvious–all of the plans to amend the ACA following King v. Burwell are fruitless if the President will veto anything.
“I don’t think he’s going to sign anything, frankly,” McConnell said.
“What I think he’ll probably do is veto anything we send him and put the pressure on the states to cave and turn established state exchanges in place of federal exchanges, thereby making them eligible for subsidies,” McConnell said. “I think he’s going to put the heat on the governors who have, in my view, wisely decided not to go along with this new game plan, either with the Medicaid expansion or with establishing a state exchange.”
“So we’ll have a response to it, depending upon what the Court recommends,” he said. “Whether the President will sign it or not is another matter, but we’ll let the American people know what we think is appropriate in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.”
As I noted in a post, inspired by an article from Jeff Toobin, it’s not clear the Republicans take the blame in this scenario. If the House and Senate pass a bill that continues the subsidies, and eliminates the unpopular individual and employer mandates, the pressure may build on the President to sign it. I don’t think people will know or care what a death spiral is, and how the lack of the mandates could make the markets unstable. All people will know is that their policies are no longer available. This is similar to the outrage people felt when their “bare bones” plans were cancelled, and they were allowed to get something better. Political ignorance makes the President’s defense of unpopular provisions a tough sell.
If he vetoes it, and people lose their policies, the blame may fall to the White House. The buck stops there. This is Obamacare after all.