Governor Rick Scott in Florida has already said that even if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, he doesn?t plan to implement the law until after the November elections, with the hope that Romney wins the presidency and releases all the states from obligations to provide affordable healthcare for citizens. While a lot of other recalcitrant Republican governors aren?t so impolitic to express this sentiment out loud, they are definitely thinking it.
No matter what the Supreme Court declares next week, do not expect states that are already dragging their feet on healthcare reform to suddenly spend the rest of summer getting health insurance exchanges up to speed, or make any other preparations. GOP lawmakers will either declare victory over the individual mandate, or continue to run on the message that too many people in America have health insurance.
A favorite phrase of Rick Scott's is that he wants to wait until the Affordable Care Act is "the law of the land." By his definition, a bill needs to do more than pass both houses of the U.S. Congress and get signed by the president. A bill needs to do even more than be approved by the Supreme Court to be the "law of the land." That bill must also be part of a national referendum that takes the incumbent president out of power.
Even if Obama wins re-election, would that satisfy Scott and his fellow GOP governors enough to implement healthcare reform as the "law of the land," or are federal laws simply subject to the whims of demagoguery? Scott has in the past been accused of skirting the law in his professional life, and is currently trying to work around the Voting Rights Act in Florida.
The fate of the individual mandate in the Supreme Court has an acute, short-term effect on health insurance, but will leave a lasting imprint on the power of the federal government to create laws that states are resistant to enforce.