(WASHINGTON) — President Obama obviously has much to lose if the Supreme Court overturns much of the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of his first term.
Already, the naysayers have chastised the president for putting so much political capital into the historic law instead of devoting much of his energies during 2009 and 2010 to job creation, which is considered voters’ top priority this year with the unemployment rate remaining stubbornly over 8 percent.
Should the high court toss out the individual mandate, which requires most Americans get health coverage under financial penalty, and the provision guaranteeing insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, most of the guts of the Affordable Care Act would be removed, possibly forcing the rest of the plan to collapse under its own weight.
Obama’s critics can then point to the Supreme Court agreeing with them that the mandate was unconstitutional all along and his dream of insuring millions was nothing more than folly.
However, the candidate who might be possibly hurt even more by a devastating high court decision is presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Gutting the law leaves Romney and Republican with less ammunition to run on over the next four months as Obama can tell Americans that he did his best to reform healthcare but was once more obstructed by the GOP and its supporters on the Supreme Court.
Besides that, this puts Obama and Romney on equal footing in debates, enabling the incumbent to further challenge his opponent on their competing plans for the future.
Meanwhile, overturning the individual mandate might also impact Massachusetts’ healthcare law, which Romney championed when he was governor.
The Supreme Court’s decision could come on Monday.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Marissa Morrison, KIVI
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune