Analysis: Obama Could See Silver Lining If Healthcare Law Rejected

The conventional wisdom is that it would be a political disaster for Democratic President Barack Obama, and a boon for Republicans, if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down all or most of Obama's healthcare overhaul.

That could be: The healthcare law - which among other things would require most Americans to buy health insurance - is Obama's signature achievement in domestic policy, and the number-one target of many Republicans in this year's elections.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean a loss before the Supreme Court would cripple Obama's re-election argument in November.

In fact, some political analysts believe that if the court strikes down the law, it would make it easier for Obama to cast Republicans in Washington -- including conservatives in the Supreme Court -- as obstructionists who have worked against the interests of middle- and low-income Americans.

Several parts of the healthcare plan are very popular, including a measure barring insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions or charging far more for coverage of those who are sick.

Without "Obamacare" to rally them into action, it is unclear whether some conservatives would remain as passionate about the 2012 elections, analysts say.

"If this whole thing gets overturned, they could certainly lose some momentum," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, adding that Republicans would need to come up with an alternative, free-market healthcare plan to avoid losing the interest of some Tea Party conservatives.

"If it gets overturned, (Republicans) are in for a knock-down, drag-out fight" in the November elections, "because ... it is going to fire up progressives," O'Connell said.

Read more Patricia Zengerle at Reuters 

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published this page in In The News 2012-03-29 21:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy