Republicans just got a hard lesson about getting what they wish for on Obamacare

Now that the composition of the panel of judges deciding whether the Affordable Care Act should be wholly struck down has been revealed to have two extremist conservatives likely to shut down the ACA on a partisan whim, the Republican state attorneys general who brought the suit are having a bit of a panic.

The states have asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to delay oral arguments that were set to happen on July 9. (Note: Since this story was published, the court rejected the request for a long delay, giving states just an additional working day to respond. The Modern Healthcare story linked to above was edited to include that, and this story has been edited to reflect those changes as well.) They need more time, they wrote, to respond to a request issued by the court last week for briefs expanding on the standing of the members of Congress and Democratic states to defend the law.

What a difference an election focused on health care, like 2018’s, can make. Those responses were due Wednesday, July 3, and now the Republicans are saying that can't meet the deadline. "These important and potentially dispositive questions merit a thorough response that represents the cohesive views of all plaintiff-appellee states and their respective attorneys general. As of today, it appears unlikely that any such response will be completed by the court's July 3 deadline," the lead counsel for the Republican states told the court.

Lawyers for the Democratic states and members of Congress urged the court to deny that request. "Allowing this appeal to proceed on its current schedule will provide some measure of certainty about the ACA's future to states, the healthcare system (including providers and insurers), and ordinary Americans, and allow them to structure their affairs accordingly," they wrote. Rip the Band-aid off, Democrats are essentially saying, and force Republicans to deal with the consequences one way or the other.

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