If the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, expect Republicans to do one thing: smile. Once, House leaders had planned to try to preserve the most popular parts of the law, like requiring insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions, letting young adults stay on their parents' policies, and reducing seniors' out-of-pocket drug costs. Not anymore. Now, top GOP aides tell Politico they've got no interest in re-litigating health care before the election. They want full repeal, period.
Republicans will put forward proposals for some popular health care fixes, but they'll let them slowly mosey through various committees. "We certainly aren’t going to repeat Washington Democrats’ mistake by passing a massive bill no one has read," a John Boehner spokesman says. Republicans also have cover, because some insurance companies have vowed to keep reforms in place, law or no law. Still, some privately acknowledge that the strategy could change if Democrats launch successful attacks. (More Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act stories.)