In a move considered more political than practical, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has again voted to repeal President Obama's health care reform law -- the Affordable Care Act.
After five hours of debate in which Republicans predictably attacked and Democrats predictably defended it, the House voted largely along party lines 244-185, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ruled to be constitutional by the Supreme Court on June 28, and requiring virtually all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.
Five Democratic Representatives joined with 239 Republicans in voting for repeal.
Both sides knew going into the debate that the "Repeal of ObamaCare Act" (H.R. 6079) would pass in the House, but will fail in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and that President Obama will veto the bill in any case.
Today's vote marked the second time since Republicans gained control of the chamber after the 2010 midterm elections that the House has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On January 19, 2011, the House passed the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" (H.R. 2) in a 245-189 vote, with three Democrats voting with the Republicans. On February 2, 2011, the Democrat-controlled Senate defeated the bill 47-51.
The "Repeal of ObamaCare Act" bill would simply repeal the Affordable Care Act without offering alternatives to any of the law's health care reform provisions, including those supported in the past by House Republicans.
Over the years, Republicans have supported measures now provided for in the Affordable Care Act, including prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage due to preexisting conditions, and tax incentives to help individuals and small businesses afford health insurance.
Speaking in debate on the "Repeal of ObamaCare Act," Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), stated that rather than reforming health care, the Affordable Care Act "epitomizes Washington at its very worst -- intrusive mandates, higher costs, red tape, unaffordable spending, taxes on employers and families, and the control of personal health care decisions by boards, bureaus, and agencies in Washington."
"President Obama promised that his reforms would lower family premiums by $2,500 by the end of his first term, yet the cost of an employee-sponsored family plan increased to $15,000 in 2011," stated Rep. Upton. "The CBO projects, if we allow the rest of ObamaCare's mandates to kick in, premiums will rise further."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California), ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, stated that repealing the Affordable Care Act would "take away health security and cause over 30 million people to lose health coverage over the next decade. That's more people than the entire population of New York and Ohio."
"What's in the bill?" asked Rep. Waxman, referring to the Affordable Care Act. "The law that the Republicans would seek to take off the books prevents people with preexisting conditions, like pregnant women, from being denied insurance or charged so much that they can't get coverage. The law says women should not pay higher premiums just because they are women."