If the Supreme Court invalidates Obamacare's subsidies in 30-plus states, any solution will come down to what each side is willing to give up to get the financial aid flowing again and avert disaster for more than 6 million Americans.
President Obama thinks the answer is easy: Authorize the tax credits in every state—quick and clean. "Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision," he said recently.
But that isn't going to happen.
"Republicans aren't interested in a one-sentence fix unless that sentence is, 'Obamacare is repealed,' " Sen. John Barrasso, the No. 4 Republican, said on the floor the next day. But that isn't happening either.
Republicans hold a lot of the cards. They control Congress, and they don't support the law anyway. But they're also wary of taking the blame for millions of people losing health coverage because of a lawsuit they support. So they'll likely agree to fix it, but they'll want to extract some concessions, too.
Which means the big question is: What can they actually get?
The lowest-hanging of low-hanging fruit, the device tax might well get repealed on its own, or as part of some other compromise, even if the administration wins in the King v. Burwell case. All things considered, it's not that much money. It's not intertwined with any other part of the Affordable Care Act. And, despite or because of those factors, it has become the top repeal target for congressional Republicans.