The Republican-led House voted yet again to repeal Obamacare on Tuesday, the latest in more than 50 votes since the law was passed in 2010 to wipe out or dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
The legislation passed by a vote of 239-186. Democrats unanimously voted against it, joined by three Republicans: Reps. Robert Dold (IL), John Katko (NY) and Bruce Poliquin (ME).
It may seem like business as usual, but this time the consequences are greater.
It’s the first time House Republicans are voting to repeal the law while the Senate is also under GOP control. That puts pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring up the House repeal bill, which Senate Democrats had typically thrown in the trash once it arrived.
Even so, the legislation is all but certain to be filibustered by Senate Democrats, and the White House threatened Monday to veto it.
More consequentially, the vote also comes less than six months before a looming Supreme Court decision that could invalidate Obamacare subsidies for millions of Americans who buy from the federal insurance exchange. In preparation for the ruling, the GOP legislation includes language to instruct the committees of jurisdiction to craft an Obamacare replacement bill.
The party is divided on whether it should even attempt to craft a contingency health care plan of its own. Illustrating the dispute, Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) tried to propose an amendment that strips out the language calling for “replacement legislation.”
Another reason House Republicans are voting to repeal Obamacare again is for the freshmen who haven’t yet had the opportunity to brag to their constituents that they cast that vote — considered a rite of passage in the GOP.
“We have 47 new members of Congress on the Republican side who have never had the chance to cast their vote to repeal Obamacare,” Speaker John Boehner told Fox News’ Bret Baier last week.
Once again, Boehner says there’ll be a Republican alternative, something he has been promising for some five years without success.
“There will be an alternative, and you’ll get to see it,” he said.
As far as Democrats are concerned, the GOP promise of a replacement bill is a scam.
“Make no mistake, the replacement plan is a total red herring,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) told TPM. “They would have you believe that you can get rid of all the stuff that makes you uncomfortable — the mandate, the subsidies — but keep all the good stuff. And that’s just fairytale. … It’s just dishonesty. They’ve had years and years and years to come up with a replacement plan and haven’t done so, so this is a little too cute for school.”