Republicans In Wait-And-See Mode After Judge Strikes A Blow To Obamacare

Top congressional Republicans were quick to argue that a federal court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional won't affect the immediate future for health care consumers and the legal battle will take a long time to play out.

The comments from GOP leadership come, however, as some rank-and-file GOP lawmakers say that the ruling puts pressure on Congress to come up with a plan if the ruling striking down the law is ultimately upheld.

The landmark health care law does remain in effect for now, despite a ruling Friday in Texas that said that its individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law therefore cannot stand. It's too soon to say what the ruling will mean for the fate of the law since it is expected to face appeal and likely end up before the Supreme Court.

That has left Republicans in Congress, who very much want to make broad legislative changes to the Affordable Care Act, in wait-and-see mode over whether they will be forced into yet another fight over health care as a result of the current legal battle. Lawmakers are also anxious about the potential political fallout of disrupting the health care law that polls show is popular with many Americans.

But while Republican congressional leaders appear to be arguing that at least for now this remains an issue for the courts to resolve, President Donald Trump has seized on the ruling to immediately turn attention to Congress.

Some GOP strategists argue that now the political dynamics of any health care policy could even be more favorable to the Republican Party with Democrats in control of the House.

"This ruling would have been terrible for Republicans if they still controlled the House, but because they don't, they have the opportunity to sit back and focus on message and really this has the potential to give Republicans second life on this issue," GOP strategist Ford O'Connell said.

Read more from Clare Foran and Ted Barrett at CNN

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