The Obama administration appears to be hunkering down for a long fight to defend its health care law. The fight will sap the administration’s energy just as it prepares for a reelection campaign.
A pair of federal judges are hinting that they may strike down part of the 900-plus–page law. Earlier this week, the administration reminded one of the judges he only had to strike down part of the law if he ruled that some portion of the law was unconstitutional. The administration’s lawyers helpfully suggested that if the mandatory-coverage provision had to go, the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions would too, but not the provisions like those for “improving women’s health” and “improv[ing] dementia and abuse prevention training.” (More on that later.)
The health-care law has proved unpopular. Republicans and Democrats both think that it was key in the GOP’s victory in the House and winning a larger presence in the Senate. That’s why Republicans are falling over themselves to repeal some or all of the act when the new members take their seats in January.
Facing down lawsuits from 20 states—plus more when newly-elected officials opposed to the health-care law are sworn in—can’t be an exciting prospect for the administration. Although it will surely emphasize the law’s more-popular provisions, this is not a subject that the administration needs in the headlines as it crafts its argument that it deserves another 4 years.