“The King v. Burwell story ends today.” So wrote “New Republic” senior editor and frequent MSNBC guest Brian Beutler yesterday, following the Supreme Court’s much-awaited and — it turns out once again — jaw-dropping ruling. Beutler’s jubilant declaration is the last sentence in a chest-thumper of a paragraph that begins this way:
[Chief Justice John Roberts] authored an opinion, joined by the Court’s four liberals, and conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, that leaves the law’s challengers with the measliest of consolation prizes: He allowed that they, in all their certitude of hindsight, weren’t completely insane. They put forth a plausible-seeming construction of the statute, but one that’s ultimately impermissible, in part because their supporting theory — that Congress intended to use the law’s subsidies as a weapon against states — is completely risible.
The sentiment, which contains more than a hint of hyperbole, was collected together with other equally giddy interpretations of the high court’s ruling under the title “Game Over, Obamacare Haters.” It’s hard to know how many of the 164 million Americans that Beutler was addressing saw his column, but suffice it to say that Obamacare haters outnumber Obamacare lovers by 25 million, according to the latest Real Clear Politics averages.
Wherein lies the problem for Beutler and company. Despite the best hopes of the far left, including the administration which assured us early on that once we got to know Obamacare we’d like it, the Affordable Care Act remains wildly unpopular. It is so disliked that the American people have since wrested away Democrats’ control of both houses of Congress, without which the law would never have seen the light of day.