Leaders of the 26 states that challenged the federal health care law in court have one luxury with the outcome -- they can do nothing.
While the Supreme Court upheld the bulk of the Affordable Care Act, it did rein in the law's expansion of Medicaid by ruling that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funds to those states that don't comply. The absence of any punitive measures means there is nothing to compel the governors or attorneys general to begin implementation of the law.
Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, for one, made clear his state will sit tight.
"We'll look to the fall and if there is a new president and a new Senate that's part of a Congress willing to change, that's the next step -- political," Walker said.
His voice was part of a quickly rising chorus of conservatives who took to the Internet and the airwaves raising political donations and rallying support for Mitt Romney's campaign after the ruling, in hopes of electing the candidate who vows to repeal the law. "If the American people don't want ObamaCare, it's a political issue and it's about this fall's presidential race," said GOP Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
One health care lobbyist told Fox News that even if states wanted to implement the provision in the Affordable Care Act, they couldn't.
The provisions require staffing levels that do not exist and do not have funding, the lobbyist said, adding it would take years to iron out the specifics needed to put the law into action. "It can't work the way it's on the books right now. Part of that is that there is so much haze within the act," said Robert Slayton of the Illinois Association of Health Care Underwriters.
The "haze" comes from 2,700 pages of legal language in the act. Those pages contain provisions that have yet to see the light of day. When the public and the health care industry learn the requirements of those provisions, inevitably they may conflict with the interests of the states. That means new legal challenges are sure to follow. "You'll see a dozen more battles in the coming years ... and some of them will be in the Supreme Court," said Anup Malani, health law expert at the University of Chicago.
Slayton said the Affordable Care Act does not live up to its name and only addresses one of the problems with health care -- access.
But President Obama, in celebrating the court's decision Thursday, called the ruling a "victory" for the American people and said he would not re-fight the political battle over the law.