Yes, alas, Obamacare is probably here to stay. The longer a government program stays in place, the more people have expectations about it, and the less interested they will be in seeing it go away. Eventually, the Republicans will understand this and move on to other issues. But, as infuriating as this betrayal by John Roberts was, it really isn't all that significant in one way:
All of this was perfectly predictable, so much so that Ted Cruz made this very point in trying to justify the 2013 shutdown. Stop it before it starts, Cruz warned, or else you’ll never have the political will to stop it again. And he was right. We won’t. The only real chance we had to stop it was SCOTUS’s 2012 decision. Once Roberts voted with the liberals on that, the die was cast. Today’s ruling by comparison is a fart in the wind.
But in another way it is. By ruling that, because of context, words do not mean what they plainly say, he has created an atmosphere in which legisdlators can do anything and later say they meant something else:
Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.