Now that the party favors and confetti has been cleaned up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we can look soberly at how Obama’s pr team is playing this. The story behind the “Magic Number” scenario touted by the White House to resurrect Obamacare (and, they hope, save their Senate chances in November) was succinctly exposed in The Federalist:
[T]alk of the 7 million figure as salvation from supporters of the law is completely bonkers: all you did was meet your lowered policy expectations. In 2014, it is clear that Republicans intend to run against Obamacare: it is a hot button issue for their base, it is perfectly designed to turn their voters out in a base election, and they don’t even need to coalesce around a specific legislative alternative in order to get those votes (rather, they can continue to let a dozen different options sprout here and there). If the odds play out as they currently appear, this positioning will allow them to take the U.S. Senate.
Then the 2016 cycle will be upon us, and at that point, Republicans will ultimately choose a nominee (primarily because they have to) – and this nominee will have a replacement plan for Obamacare. That will effectively become the GOP plan, and the party will run on it. This plan may not become law: but it will be the framework for the reform they push in the wake of the 2016 election should they take the presidency.