Those arguments may reflect new poll numbers, which show that the legislation is viewed less negatively than it was before the ruling.
In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week, Americans were evenly split — 47 percent to 47 percent — on whether they support or oppose the law. That represented a significant improvement for the legislation from April, when 39 percent backed it and 53 percent opposed it. One-third of respondents said they favor repealing all or part of the law.
GOP arguments for repeal have shifted since the court ruling. Muted was the argument that requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance by 2014 is an unprecedented and unconstitutional overreach of federal power — a contention that became the emotional grist behind the growth of the tea party movement in 2010.
Instead, Republicans emphasized their beliefs that the law has caused economic uncertainty for American businesses, will cost more than the government can afford and imposes a tax on those who do not comply with the insurance requirement.
With the election approaching, both parties used the vote as an opportunity to energize supporters — with Democrats stepping up their defense of the law even as Republicans characterized the vote as fulfilling an oft-stated promise of the 2010 midterms.
At the NAACP’s national conference in Houston on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was booed by a Democratic-leaning crowd for promising to try to repeal the law if elected.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats held a news conference with Americans who talked about the benefits they will receive from the legislation. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hit Republicans for voting to repeal a law that includes, among its many provisions, items paring back health-care perks for members of Congress.
Rep. Tom Price (Ga.), a doctor who serves as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, called that argument “typical demagoguery.” He said the public supports repeal, particularly now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the penalty imposed on those who do not buy insurance by 2014 is a tax.
“I don’t think there’s anyone on the other side who could say that if this had been billed as a tax, it would have passed,” he said. “The American people know this is a bad law, and they know that the law needs to go away.”