Republicans have been asking themselves what they'll turn to next, after their tax overhaul wraps up. If they repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, there's a good chance the answer will be health care — whether they like it or not.
What they're saying: President Trump has said several times that he wants to take another crack at repeal-and-replace after the tax bill, but, notably, GOP leaders in the House and Senate have not echoed that plan. And that makes sense — their health care adventures did not succeed and did not poll well, either. It's a hard issue.
Yes, but: If Republicans do end up repealing the individual mandate, insurance markets will begin to feel the effects quickly, leading to almost immediate nationwide upheaval that will be impossible to ignore — especially in an election year.
The timing: The disruption caused by repealing the individual mandate would start early next year and intensify at the 2018 midterm elections.
The bottom line: All this fallout would put more pressure on Congress to return to health policy whether it wants to or not — and reopening all the same internal divisions that have stymied every other health care bill.
Go deeper: Read my full story in the health care stream.