A flaw in this cynical calculation is that Republicans can not prevent Democrats from attacking them over health care by abandoning the issue; if that strategy worked, the 2018 elections would have gone very differently.
Bates, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, called the final rule an "end-run" around the health care law.
But what exactly that is remains a work in progress.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates blocked a rule that was finalized previous year that allows small businesses and self-employed people to band together to purchase insurance known as association health plans.
Lawmakers are all saying Trump has to come up with a plan, that they're not going to do it. So they tried to ram through repeal without replace. "You know what? We'll do it a different way", Trump told his supporters at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Thursday night.
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Mr. Trump said he tasked specific Senate Republicans Thursday to form a "really great" health care plan and follow through with his promise to make the Republicans "the party of health care". "It's good. It's important".
Bates' ruling comes after an intense week in the courts for the administration's health care policies. No such working group appears to exist, however.
In fact, thanks to a loophole in the ACA, Tennessee already has a major association health plan of the kind Trump wants to legalize, known as the Farm Bureau.
Aside from the legal issues about the plans, there were concerns that if they became insolvent, as some did in the past, policyholders could be stuck with medical bills. In 2004, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that there were 144 plans that weren't authorized to sell health insurance between 2000 and 2002; these scams covered more than 200,000 policyholders and left over $250 million in unpaid medical claims.
White House officials were quick to tell CNN that Short had gotten ahead of White House deliberations. They had built no consensus among Republican politicians or voters.