Having the crisis play out in early 2016 rather than the summer of 2015, could mean that Republican members of Congress would take a harder line position. Voters, after all, would be paying more attention to politics given the presidential race. Any Republican who votes to restore the subsidies could risk a primary challenge from an opponent portraying this as a vote to expand Obamacare.
On the other hand, the later timeframe could make the risk-averse Republican Congressional leadership more eager to cut a deal, rather than have a bruising fight spill into a crucial election year for which they have high hopes.
Whatever the case ends up being, for now all we can say is that Alito introduced another wildcard that will keep us guessing until the Court announces its decision.