Updated at 4:28pm ET The House voted Wednesday to repeal the 2010 health care overhaul that the United States Supreme Court upheld in a ruling two weeks ago. The vote was more symbolic than substantive since the Democratic-controlled Senate will not agree to repeal the law.
The vote was 244 to 185, with five Democrats voting for repeal and no Republican voting against.
The five Democrats were: Jim Matheson of Utah, Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Dan Boren of Oklahoma, and Mike Ross of Arkansas.
Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., explains why the GOP wants to repeal President Obama's health care law.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates Kissell's race as "Lean Republican" which means he seems likely to lose his seat. Both Matheson and McIntyre are in what are rated as "toss up" races by the Cook Report. Boren and Ross are not running for re-election.
It was the second time since Republicans took control of the House in 2011 that the House has voted to repeal the law. Those votes are likely to be featured in campaign ads this fall.
The House has also voted more than 30 times to rescind specific provisions of the law.
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision on June 28, the Congressional Budget Office is re-assessing the cost of the law. The court's decision – while upholding much of the law – struck down its mandatory Medicaid expansion. The ruling means that states can refuse to go along with the expansion. This might shift some people to the taxpayer-subsidized insurance exchanges and add to the cost of the law.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D- Iowa, talks with NBC's Andrea Mitchell about the House Republicans' attempt to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D- Iowa, who wrote the preventive care section of the bill and has fought Republican attempts to use funding for preventive care as offsets for the cost of extending the payroll tax cut, told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that the House vote was “sheer political theater; it’s wasting a lot of time and it’s scaring a lot of people.”
Harkin pointed out that the GOP effort was futile since Democrats control the Senate and won’t allow the House bill to advance.
But Rep. Tim Scott, R- S.C., said during the House debate Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act would squeeze $500 billion in reduced spending out of Medicare over ten years.
“What does that mean?,” Scott asked, “ Well, to me as a grandson of a grandfather who is 92 years old, what happens when we take $500 billion out of Medicare? Well, the answer is clear: there’s a 15-member board called IPAB – Independent Payment Advisory Board – that will then recommend cuts to Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals and other providers…. My grandfather’s health may be in the hands of a 15-member autonomous board.”
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, Republicans have renewed their criticism of the taxes that the law imposes.
In his decision, Chief Justice John Roberts called the central provision of the law which was being challenged in court, the requirement that most Americans purchase insurance, “in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance.”
He said, “The mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.”
Even as House Republicans attempt to repeal it, the law is slowly taking effect, with a new Medicare tax set to start on Jan 1. That tax will raise $20 billion in revenue in 2010 and by 2018, it will collect nearly $40 billion.
A tax of 2.3 percent on the sale of medical devices also takes effect on Jan 1. That will raise $1.8 billion in 2013 and $3.4 billion by 2019.
“Frontloaded” in the law were provisions that polling indicates to be popular with many Americans such as $43 billion over ten years in new prescription drug subsidies for seniors on Medicare Part D.
Leveraging the vote to raise campaign money, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told donors in an e-mail Wednesday, “Right-wing SuperPACs, big insurance companies, and the Tea Party base are all lined up to go on the attack against President Obama and Congressional Democrats for refusing to back away from health care reform. We have to respond immediately.”
He urged donors to “Stand with President Obama: Donate $3 or more to our Health Care Rapid Response Fund today.”