Once again, the Republican-controlled House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
But for the first time, this bill – H.R. 596 – could get a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, something that did happen for the 56 bills to repeal or dismantle the health reform law while Democrats controlled that chamber.
H.R. 596 passed the House on Feb. 3 by a 239-186 vote, with three Republicans voting against repeal and no Democrats voting for it. The bill calls for the repeal of the ACA and directs the Congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care to draft replacement legislation.
President Obama has vowed repeatedly to veto any legislation that repeals the health care reform law.
Debate preceding the vote focused on the usual arguments, with Republicans asserting the ACA has increased health insurance costs and premiums while serving as a job killer.
During debate on the House floor, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) argued that 4 years after passage of the law, 41 million people are still without health insurance, and that premiums “have skyrocketed,” with some seeing increases as high as 78%. He added that there are “millions of people out of full-time work and millions more forced into part-time jobs.”
Democrats praised the growth in covered lives, as well as the slowdown in growth of Medicare costs in calling on members to vote against the bill.
Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) noted that a repeal vote “will actually take health insurance away from millions of Americans,” adding that the ACA “is not perfect and there are clear areas where we could work together to build on and improve this law, but today’s repeal vote would turn back time, reverting back to a system everyone agreed was broken.”
Democrats also complained that the bill did not go through regular order through the committee hearing and markup process, but rather went straight to the floor for a vote with no amendments allowed to be introduced during the debate.