ObamaCare emerges from the shadows

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the high-profile and historic King v. Burwell case upholding federal subsidies distributed under ObamaCare has caused Republicans in Congress to ask the next logical question: Where do we go from here? Many legal experts had expected the Supreme Court to rule in a favor of a plain reading of the law, which clearly states that the federal subsidies are illegal.

Conservatives who had believed this decision might finally be the death knell for ObamaCare are frustrated — and in one sense, rightfully so. But despite this frustration, I’m optimistic that this decision might be the first step to finally achieving full repeal of this disastrous law.

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One thing we can’t do is buy into the president’s argument that he repeated over and over again in a Rose Garden press conference after the Supreme Court’s decision came down: “This law is working.” It’s not. It hasn’t been, and it won’t be after this decision fades from recent memory. This ruling changes nothing about that. Insurance premiums are rising by as much as 60 percent annually for families, and many that were kicked off of the plans that had worked for them for years are now paying more for fewer options and less coverage. I am dismayed to see the Supreme Court bend over backward to save a law that is hurting so many Americans. But I am confident of one thing: This fight is not over.

Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio),  Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.), House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan (R-Wis.) and my conservative colleagues have reiterated our position that this ruling doesn’t change our resolve to protect American families from the negative impacts of this law. In the lead-up to King v. Burwell, we came together to draw up an initial plan that would have served as an off-ramp from ObamaCare. Though the court’s ruling rendered the plan unnecessary in the short-term, we now have a framework we will continue to flesh out and perfect over the next year and a half.

President Obama’s time in office is limited. He won’t be around forever to protect this law that is opposed by a majority of the American people. He may view it as his legacy, but to American families, it’s a weight around their necks.

Already, a large field of presidential candidates is forming on both sides to succeed him. One thing you don’t hear them repeating is the president’s mantra: “This law is working.” King v. Burwell places this issue front and center as a top priority that must be addressed by each of these candidates. They won’t be able to escape it, even if they try. The American people should not let them.

Ultimately, this decision throws the ugly realities of ObamaCare into sharp focus. It will force the law to emerge from underneath the shadow of litigation to stand on its own two feet and be judged on its merits alone. That is an argument I am confident conservatives can and will win. And when the American people cry out from under the crushing weight of ObamaCare during the next presidential contest, I believe Obama’s eventual successor must and will finally work with Congress to end this nightmare.

So, while the initial takeaway for conservatives may be disappointment, we can’t let it weaken our resolve. The next year and a half may be the most consequential in the law’s history, as the election of the next president could likely decide the ultimate fate of this law. I view King v. Burwell as merely the opening bell of the next round in the fight to protect all of us from Obama-Care’s ill effects. I’m not giving up, and neither should the American people.

Boustany, a cardiovascular surgeon, represents Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District and has served in the House since 2005.  He sits on the Ways and Means Committee and serves as chairman of its subcommittee on oversight.