I never seriously worried that the Roberts Court would invalidate the Affordable Care Act and I was mildly surprised that they even went so far as to make Medicaid expansion optional. In retrospect, I guess Chief Justice Roberts was feeling some very intense pressure and tried to come up with a compromise that wound up satisfying no one. Still, I remain sanguine about the newest challenge to ObamaCare for all the reasons that Brian Beutler points out. Those who have bet on the Republican Party behaving in the worst way possible have been consistently vindicated. But those who have made the same bet on John Roberts have not.
The tendency is to act very, very badly, but not in the worst way possible. So, if this trend holds true, the conservatives will get something out of their challenge but not what they’re seeking. They may even get the worst of all possible worlds, which would be the responsibility to fix the statute without any way of overturning it. Or, more likely, the Court will rewrite the statute in a way that makes the law work with less ambiguity, thereby taking away an inane Republican talking point.
What Roberts is unlikely to do is to break the exchanges and infuriate hospitals and insurers all over the country.