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Why Republicans are boxed in on health care

Why Republicans are boxed in on health care … Promising to repeal and replace Obamacare is a pledge that would be hard to keep, even for a GOP president in 2017 … The conservative backlash at Chief Justice John Roberts … Should schools and facilities named after Robert E. Lee go, too? … Pro-Rubio group to hit the airwaves – on Iran… Trump is now radioactive with Latinos, and how would that reflect on the GOP if he makes that first debate? … And on “Meet” this Sunday: Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham.

FIRST THOUGHTS.

*** Why Republicans are boxed in on health care: Yes, yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling wasn’t just a victory for President Obama – it was a win for congressional Republicans and GOP governors, who no longer have to worry about the aftermath (or blame) of health care subsidies going away in their states. But looking at the issue with a focus on 2016, Republicans also find themselves boxed in health care in other ways. On the one hand, 84% of Republicans want the law to either be totally eliminated or majorly overhauled, according to our most recent NBC/WSJ poll. On the other hand, after the second Supreme Court decision upholding the law, there really isn’t much the GOP can do about it – even if Republicans take back the White House in 2017. Why? Think about it: Say Republicans control the White House and Congress in 2017, say Republicans are able to use reconciliation (and a favorable ruling from the Senate parliamentarian), and say they have actual legislation to replace the health care law. Then what? That new GOP president would see his entire presidency defined by health care (just like the current president). He’d own the implementation and all of the problems associated with it (just like the current president); he’d own premiums going up, even though premiums usually go up (just like the current president); and he’d face an opposition unwilling to help him even one inch (just like the current president). Does all of that sound familiar?

*** Promising to repeal and replace Obamacare is a pledge that would be hard to keep: Bottom line: Republican presidential candidates promising to repeal and replace the health care are making a pledge they probably can’t keep – or if they try to, it’s one that could define (and ruin) their presidency. Given this and given yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, we think there’s an 85%-90% chance the foundation of Obama’s health care law is here to stay. And that percentage goes up to 100% if Democrats win another presidential contest in 2016.

*** The conservative backlash at Chief Justice John Roberts: There’s a final observation to make about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on Obama’s health care law: It’s produced A LOT of conservative backlash at Chief Justice John Roberts. In fact, some of them want to turn Roberts into George W. Bush’s David Souter (though that comparison is stretched since Souter tended to side with the liberals on almost every case, not just one or two of them). Here was Scott Walker on Fox last night: “It’s precisely why we not only need a president who is going to repeal Obamacare outright, but also a president who, going forward, is going to make sure judicial appointments that are appointed on the Supreme Court and other federal positions are ones based on people that will truly uphold the Constitution and laws duly enacted under them.” Is this going to an issue that Republicans like Scott Walker use to hit Jeb Bush with – “Hey, your brother gave us the turncoat John Roberts! And your father gave us David Souter!”

*** Can the GOP stop an Obama who’s on a roll? We’ve pointed out that Obama has had quite a week – on trade, health care, maybe gay marriage today. Conservative writer Byron York asks: How should Republicans try to stop a president on a roll? “I sent notes to several Republican operatives, some working on presidential campaigns and some unaffiliated. How do GOP candidates deal with a president on a winning streak? How does it affect the campaign? Does it give Clinton a stronger hand? The answers that came back showed a party struggling to figure out exactly how to deal with the Democrats’ recent run.” Worth emphasizing again: Obama’s current approval rating in our NBC/WSJ poll is 48%; George W. Bush’s at this same point in time in his presidency was 29%.

*** Should schools and facilities named after Robert E. Lee go, too? President Obama today delivers the eulogy in Charleston for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. And while we doubt that the president will use the eulogy to step into the debate over the Confederate flag, the New York Times’ David Brooks takes that debate on step further: Should all schools and facilities named after Robert E. Lee come down, too? “My own view is that we should preserve most Confederate memorials out of respect for the common soldiers. We should keep Lee’s name on institutions that reflect postwar service, like Washington and Lee University, where he was president,” Brooks writes. “But we should remove Lee’s name from most schools, roads and other institutions, where the name could be seen as acceptance of what he did and stood for during the war.” Will be fascinating to hear how prominent Virginia Democrats (Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe) handle the Lee question. Meanwhile, here’s another question Democrats may face soon: With Hillary Clinton slated to attend tonight’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Virginia (after attending today’s funeral in Charleston), should the party feature Democratic dinners named after Jefferson and Jackson?

*** Pro-Rubio group to hit the airwaves – on Iran: The Washington Post scoops that a pro-Marco Rubio non-profit (which doesn’t have to disclose its donations) is going up with a $1 million-plus advertising buy highlighting Rubio’s opposition to an Iran deal. A few interesting points here: One, this appears to be the first BIG ad buy of the 2016 presidential campaign. Two, it’s not coming from a Super PAC – but from a non-profit that doesn’t have to disclose its donors. And three, it’s on foreign policy and Iran, not the economy or domestic concerns. (And certainly not on health care.) Of course, as our NBC/WSJ poll in April found, Republicans see foreign policy and national security as the biggest issue heading into 2016.

*** Trump is now radioactive with Latinos, and how would that reflect on the GOP if he makes that first debate? By now, you’ve probably heard how Univision disassociated itself from Donald Trump’s Miss Universe pageant after Trump’s controversial comments on Mexicans. And now Trump is promising to sue Univision. But the episode underscores this important 2016 point: Trump is now radioactive among Latino Americans – perhaps more so than Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has been. And how would that reflect on the GOP if he makes that first debate? As Politico writes, “He has virtually zero chance of winning the presidential nomination. But insiders worry that the loud-mouthed mogul is more than just a minor comedic nuisance on cable news; they fret that he’s a loose cannon whose rants about Mexicans and scorched-earth attacks on his rivals will damage the eventual nominee and hurt a party struggling to connect with women and minorities and desperate to win.”

*** The Hillary emails: “The State Department said Thursday that it could not locate “all or part” of 15 e-mails provided last week to the House Select Committee on Benghazi by Sidney Blumenthal from his exchanges with then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the Washington Post says. “The committee chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who has raised repeated questions about whether Clinton covered up her activities related to the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, called the State Department disclosure ‘significant and troubling.’

*** On “Meet the Press” this Sunday: NBC’s Chuck Todd will interview newly minted presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, as well as Lindsey Graham.

*** On the trail: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Jim Webb are in Iowa … After her appearance at the funeral in Charleston, Hillary Clinton addresses the Virginia Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner … Martin O’Malley delivers a foreign-policy speech in DC … And Rick Santorum is in Denver, CO.

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OBAMA AGENDA: Comforter-in-chief

From NBCNews.com: “The president will once again try to comfort a country in mourning as he delivers the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was murdered last week alongside eight others in a shooting spree at Emanuel AME church in Charleston. The president’s eulogy will seek to memorialize a man who many saw as a giant and the president knew personally.”

Here’s a rundown of the cases the Supreme Court still has to rule on before the end of its term.

From the Washington Post: “Legacies of Obama presidency and Roberts court are forever intertwined”

Religious groups are bracing for the gay marriage decision, including devising new legal strategies to create exemptions if the court rules to approve gay weddings, the Wall Street Journal reports.

CONGRESS: Still trying to repeal Obamacare
Republicans are moving towards an attempt to use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare, The Hill reports.

From POLITICO: Republican leaders have reversed a punishment for a member who pushed back against the party’s top dogs.

OFF TO THE RACES: The GOP’s Trump problem

A new CNN poll in New Hampshire shows Donald Trump gaining on Jeb Bush.

From POLITICO: “Big labor, which once relied almost exclusively on member dues to fund its political activity, is now hoping to raise huge checks for its 2016 efforts from billionaires like George Soros and Tom Steyer, according to confidential documents.”

The Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision offers GOP 2016 hopefuls another rallying cry, writes the Washington Post.

CARSON: He told RadioIowa that presidents should be limited to one six-year term.

CHRISTIE: He’ll make his presidential ambitions known on June 30, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

CLINTON: From the AP: “The State Department cannot find in its records all or part of 15 work-related emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private server that were released this week by a House panel investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, officials said Thursday.”

Charlie Cook does a deep dive into the role gender could play in 2016 using data from the most recent NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

HUCKABEE: He’s blaming “the donor class” for pushing through the president’s agenda on trade.

JINDAL: The New York Times offers a glimpse at Bobby Jindal’s attempts to act like a frontrunner even though he’s at the bottom of the polls.

O’MALLEY: Ahead of his O’Malley’s foreign-policy speech in DC today, his campaign sends this memo: “Today Governor O’Malley will deliver his most comprehensive remarks to date on U.S. foreign policy, national security, and America’s role in the world. He will outline a framework for U.S. foreign policy based on reducing new threats to our national security and supporting the rise of a global middle class – both fundamental objectives to keeping America safe and helping to establish stability and prosperity around the world. The cornerstone of Governor O’Malley’s foreign policy vision is a strong American economy. He believes that American strength in the world requires economic strength at home. That means building a robust American middle class and ensuring that the American Dream is accessible to ALL Americans.”

RUBIO: A pro-Rubio group is launching a $1 million ad campaign highlighting the senator’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

In New Hampshire, he talked Obamacare and gun control, NH1.com reports.

TRUMP: POLITICO writes about Republicans’ anxiety about Donald Trump’s strength in the polls. “He has virtually zero chance of winning the presidential nomination. But insiders worry that the loud-mouthed mogul is more than just a minor comedic nuisance on cable news; they fret that he’s a loose cannon whose rants about Mexicans and scorched-earth attacks on his rivals will damage the eventual nominee and hurt a party struggling to connect with women and minorities and desperate to win.”

WALKER: He’ll make his presidential announcement the week of July 13.

NBC News’ Carrie Dann contributed reporting.

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Why Republicans are boxed in on health care