With the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare, the issue now shifts to the elected branches of government and raises this question: Will the intense opposition dissipate or will it lead to a fervent new effort to repeal the liberal health care law?
Polls show that opposition to Obamacare has increased since it was passed in 2010. Then, it played a huge role in the Republican landslide in the midterm congressional election. In that campaign, Republican candidates were unified in the support for repealing Obamacare.
And the Tea Party movement that erupted in 2009 was also a strong force in the opposition to the health care stature. Since the 2010 election, however, the Tea Party was become less active, at least in staging public demonstrations.
Will the 5-4 decision revive the Tea Party? Will Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney make Obamacare the centerpiece of his campaign against Obama? Will GOP candidates do the same?
Unless the answer to those questions is “yes,” the court’s decision may turn out to be the pivotal moment in legitimizing Obamacare, improving its public support as reflected in opinion polls, and embedding it firmly into the American health care system.
My guess, for what it’s worth, is that the anti-Obamacare movement will recover and make health care the most salient issue in the 2012 campaign. Then its fate will depend on who wins the White House.