It was the 33rd time that Republicans have moved to repeal all or parts of the legislation since the party took control of the House in January 2011. It is a now-familiar ritual that the GOP said demonstrates the depth of its opposition. The Democratic-led Senate will not support a repeal.
“I think this is an opportunity to save our economy,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). “For those who still support repealing this harmful health-care law, we’re giving our colleagues in the Senate another chance to heed the will of the American people. And for those who did not support repeal the last time, it’s a chance for our colleagues to reconsider.”
Democrats countered that Republicans are wasting time on a settled debate. They said the court ruling is a sign that it is time to move forward with the law’s implementation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) termed the repeal effort “legislation to nowhere” and said it would result in a loss of protections for millions of Americans who will benefit from the law’s provisions, including free preventive care, removal of lifetime spending limits and the requirement that insurance companies extend coverage to people with preexisting conditions.
Rep. Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.) called the vote the Republicans’ “boil-the-bunny moment,” suggesting a GOP obsession similar to that of a lead character in the 1987 movie “Fatal Attraction.”
Of the five Democrats who broke party ranks to support repeal, two — Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.) and Mike Ross (Ark.) — are conservatives who are not seeking reelection. The three others — Reps. Larry Kissell (N.C.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and Mike McIntyre (N.C) — are facing tough reelection battles. Matheson had opposed a repeal but switched his position in the face of a difficult challenge from Mia Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.
In a sign that the politics surrounding the law may have shifted a degree since the court ruling, some Republicans are emphasizing the need to quickly find other ways to implement those popular aspects of the measure, even as they insisted that it must be repealed in its entirety.
“As a doctor, I fully endorse — and as a Republican, I fully endorse — the goals of the 2010 health law,” Rep. Nan A.S. Hayworth (N.Y.), an ophthalmologist, said on Tuesday. “Every American should have access to good, affordable health care and affordable, portable health insurance.”
In moderate New Hampshire, Rep. Charles F. Bass (R) indicated that he wants to find a way to allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health-care plans and to prevent insurance companies from barring those with preexisting conditions from buying coverage.