When President Obama conceived of the Affordable Care Act, he did everything he could to bring Republicans to his side. He created a system that was market-friendly and drew on ideas that members of the GOP had endorsed in the past.
His conciliatory efforts bought him nothing except a long delay in getting a bill through the Senate, a lag that nearly killed the entire enterprise.
You might think that Republicans would move on and accept Obamacare. After all, they failed to repeal it in President Trump’s first year in office and then lost the House of Representatives in an election in which voters named health care the number one issue—putting aside, of course, the importance of Trump himself. Those who listed health care backed Democrats overwhelmingly.
But, no, the notion that the evil federal government might succeed in helping Americans with modest incomes get health insurance is, in the eyes of the right, a calamity. If this plan continues to deliver, folks might begin to get the idea that the GOP’s anti-government propaganda campaign is nothing but a cover for policies that cut taxes on the rich and do as little as possible for Americans who lack money and influence.
So, having lost in a democratically elected branch of government and having been beaten in a democratic election, Republicans concluded: the heck with democracy! Let’s get some conservative judges to override Congress, ignore the popular will, and get rid of this thing through the back door.
First, in a ruling legal scholars generally saw as wacky, Reed O’Connor, a right-wing district court judge, astonished the country last December by throwing out the Affordable Care Act altogether. (Fortunately, the decision was stayed pending further litigation.)