Describing the Republican Party's health care policy is, at one level, quite easy. The GOP has an irrational, overwhelming, all-consuming, wild-eyed hatred for the Affordable Care Act. Period, full stop.
But it's every relevant detail after this where the troubles kick in. Republicans don't know how (or if) to come up with an "Obamacare" alternative, despite over five years of behind-the-scenes efforts. Republican don't know how (or if) to pursue a full repeal of the law. Republicans don't know how (or if) to help those families who would suffer greatly if their efforts to undermine the law succeed. Republicans don't even know how (or if) they should use the budget "reconciliation" process to go after the ACA.
Perhaps the most striking division, however, is between those in the GOP who are desperate to gut the nation's health care system and those Republicans who quietly hope the law survives intact.
We learned last week, for example, that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) did not sign on to the Republican effort at the Supreme Court to destroy the ACA through the King v. Burwell case. A few days later, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) devoted parts of his "State of the State" address to highlighting how great the Affordable Care Act has been for his state's residents (though he neglected to credit the law directly).
The New York Times reported, meanwhile, that some Republican officials are actually afraid that their party might persuade Republican justices on the Supreme Court, with adverse consequences for everyone -- including their own constituents.
After President Obama's Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, Republicans at both the state and federal levels seemed to speak with one voice in flatly rejecting it.
But in subsequent years, though most Republican governors remained critical of the health care law, nine accepted a central but optional element, expanding Medicaid programs to cover many more low-income residents of their states. At least four others, urged on by hospitals and business groups, will try to do so this year.
And now, briefs filed last month in support of a major legal challenge to the law -- King v. Burwell, which is now before the Supreme Court -- are raising new questions about divisions within the Republican Party over the law.
Just how divided are they?