Supreme Court decision on Obamacare could hurt GOP in 2020 election


Polls show health care is the most important issue for voters in November — and those voters trust Democrats over Republicans on how to handle it.

The Supreme Court on Monday announced that it will hear a Republican challenge to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, bringing health care to the forefront of the election and threatening Republicans' electoral hopes in November, Democratic strategists say.

The Trump administration initially backed the lawsuit from Republican attorneys general across the country, which challenges the ACA, better known as Obamacare.

However, the administration has since said the Supreme Court should wait for lower courts to rule on the case, ensuring the ACA wouldn't be fully repealed before the election.

Democratic strategists say that in some ways, the fact that the Supreme Court won't make its final decision until after November 2020 may be the worst possible scenario for Republicans.

Democratic candidates can remind voters that casting a ballot for Trump or down-ballot GOP nominees could wipe away protections for preexisting conditions, and take health care away from 21 million people, according to a New York Times report on the impact of fully repealing the ACA.

"Trump — and the Congressional and Senate Republicans who have been supporting him — got cold feet about their lawsuit to take away everyone's health care but the Supreme Court just guaranteed that it will be front and center right before the election," Eddie Vale, a Democratic strategist, said in an email Monday.

Polling already shows health care is the most important issue for voters this fall — especially swing voters who may help determine the victor.

And it's what Democrats ran on in 2018, when the party captured the House majority for the first time in nearly a decade.

"This is the issue that cost Republicans the House, and they're stuck between this incredibly unpopular position, and being too afraid of Trump and their base to back away from supporting the lawsuit," Vale said.

Ultimately, Democratic strategists say the Supreme Court decision will ensure that health care remains the top electoral issue this fall. They are confident that putting Republicans on defense for wanting to repeal Obamacare — which is more popular than ever with 55% of Americans in support of the law — will hurt Trump and Republicans.

"When it comes to repealing health care and taking away protections for pre-existing conditions, the GOP is far beyond the dog who caught the car," Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist who works with a variety of pro-ACA organizations, said in an email.

"They're the dog who's driving the car and they're driving Americans health care right off a cliff."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.