July 22

* The news of the day was of course the two Obamacare rulings, one declaring people in states relying on the federal exchange should have their subsidies taken away, and one ruling the opposite. Republicans were cheered by the first decision, but Brian Beutler says they shouldn’t get too happy about it:

There’s no use sugarcoating it: An adverse Supreme Court ruling would throw the ACA into chaos in three dozen states, including huge states like Florida and Texas. The vast majority of beneficiaries in those states would be suddenly unable to afford their premiums (and might even be required to reimburse the government for unlawful subsidies they’ve already spent). Millions of people would drop out of the insurance marketplaces. Premiums would skyrocket for the very sick people who need coverage the most.

But that’s where the conservatives’ “victory” would turn into a big political liability for red- and purple-state Republicans. An adverse ruling would create a problem that could be fixed in two ways: With an astonishingly trivial technical corrections bill in Congress, or with Healthcare.gov states setting up their own exchanges. If you’re a Republican senator from a purple Healthcare.gov state — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and others — you’ll be under tremendous pressure to pass the legislative fix. If you’re a Republican governor in any Healthcare.gov state, many thousands of your constituents will expect you to both pressure Congress to fix the problem, and prepare to launch your own exchange.

I’m sure they’ll argue the chaos is all Barack Obama’s fault. But after railing against the ACA for years, if people — and middle-class people at that — start actually losing coverage they got through the ACA, it would be tough for Republicans to put the blame on the White House.

* And it would be a bigger deal than many of those same states refusing to expand Medicaid, argues Kevin Drum, because of the difference between never giving people insurance in the first place, and giving it to them and then taking it away. As Drum says:

Half the country will have access to a generous entitlement and the other half won’t.

* And Jonathan Cohn explains why a decision against the ACA in this case could have implications that go way beyond the subsidies.

* Danny Vinik brings us the chart of the day, showing how much more people would have to pay in every state if they lost their subsidies. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.

* Think Progress provides a good explanation of the numbers involved, like how many people could lose subsidies and how much they’d lose.

* Charles Gaba with a typically blunt summary of the political meaning of today’s anti-ACA ruling: “GOP shoves massive tax hike down middle class voters’ throats.” Read the whole thing for his take on why a ruling in favor of this decision might only impact 18 states. — gs

* Asked whether the anti-ACA decision vindicated his use of the “nuclear option” to allow simple majority votes on judicial nominees, Harry Reid replied, “simple math, you bet.” Because of that decision, President Obama was able to fill three vacancies on the appeals court, who will likely provide a majority when the case is heard by the whole court.

* Ted Cruz has a bill to defund Obama’s deferred-deportation programs as part of the GOP response to the current border crisis. Mitch McConnell says Cruz’s bill should get a vote. But, crucially, he won’t endorse the idea at its core, showing again that the GOP response to this crisis is boxing Republicans into a toxic position on immigration.

* The Obama administration announced today that new arrivals of children from Central America have slowed, while deportations of adults have accelerated. The key is whether Obama can manage this crisis.

* Steven Benen takes a look at Rick Perry’s “Operation Strong Safety” idea to send National Guard troops to the border and show those 8-year-old Guatemalan kids we mean business:

Part of the rationale, he said yesterday, was to deter others from entering the United States illegally. Again, this is predicated on a mistaken assumption about the nature of the crisis itself. These unaccompanied children are not sneaking into the country – on the contrary, they’re walking up to law-enforcement officials and gladly turning themselves in.

There is no deterrent effect in having more law-enforcement personnel because the kids aren’t afraid of getting caught. They fully expect to be taken into custody; they want to be taken into custody. Does Perry not understand these details? If not, why not?

The thing you have to understand is that Rick Perry wears glasses now. He’s a serious guy.

* According to the latest PPP poll, Sen. Kay Hagan has a 7-point lead over Thom Tillis in North Carolina, a lead that has grown over previous polls. That isn’t too far from the average of polls in this race, suggesting once again that some of these embattled incumbents are showing surprising staying power.

* Atrios spells out the meaning of the word “hypocrisy” for all of those commentators who seem so determined to pretend not to understand it. No matter: It’s somehow “hypocritical” when wealthy Dems support policies to raise taxes on their own class, and that will never change. — gs

* And finally, Snoop Dog claims he got high in a bathroom in the White House. But look, if you’re going to invite Snoop to your house, you pretty much have to assume that will happen.