On Tuesday, February 2, 2016 the most recent attempt to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act met a dead end.
In a near party-line vote of 241-186, the override of President Obama’s January veto was not successful. A two-thirds majority vote by the House of Representatives would have been needed for the override to succeed.
“It’s almost like it’s Groundhog Day,” remarked Josh Earnest, White House press secretary referencing the mid-1990s movie that shares a name with the February holiday. (Ehley, 2/2)
Tuesday’s vote marks the 63rd time the GOP has attempted to dismantle or repeal President Obama’s law known as “Obamacare” since they gained House majority in 2011. Though Republicans currently hold majority of the House, there were still not enough votes. Several Republicans voted in favor of Obama’s veto, including Robert Dold, Richard Hanna, and John Katko. The failed override of the bill ends its consideration, as it will not move to a Senate vote.
In December 2015 Republicans celebrated the success of the repeal bill passing through the Senate for the first time — a procedural maneuver was utilized to deny Democrats the ability to block this legislation. The fast-track tool, reconciliation, forced the repeal measure through Congress.
Paul Ryan(R)-Wis., House Speaker, admitted the intention behind the vote was to send a message, fulfilling a promise to GOP supporters to dismantle the health law.
Republicans state that Obamacare has raised insurance costs and limited health care choices. The bill proposed by the GOP would have removed major components of ACA, including mandates for most citizens to have health coverage and large companies to offer coverage, and the expansion of Medicaid for low-income people. The bill also blocked federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year, and repealed higher taxes for upper-income Americans.
According to Ryan, the GOP will offer a healthcare proposal for replacing the Affordable Care Act. He says it would lower costs and “restore the doctor-patient relationship.” (2/2) Mr. Ryan indicated the plan replacing Obamacare will be introduced by his party this year. As 2016 is an election year, lawmakers seeking re-election may be hesitant to vote to remove the law that has potentially helped constituents from their state.
Representative Chris Van Hollen, (D)-Md., remarked that Republicans had “a lot of gall” (2/2) to try blocking Planned Parenthood’s federal money. Planned Parenthood, a provider of medical care to the economically disadvantaged, would have lost government funding if the repeal bill had passed. The women’s health organization had come under recent scrutiny by the GOP after undercover videos showed leaders of the organization discussing the use of fetal tissue in scientific research.
Last week a Texas Grand Jury found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood after Congressional investigations failed to uncover evidence of illegal acts. The anti-abortion activists had accused Planned Parenthood of wrongfully providing fetal tissue for research. The activists, who had done the covert filming, were indicted.
If the repeal had succeeded: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 22 million Americans would lose medical care if the repeal had succeeded. The repeal vote was held two days after the third ACA coverage enrollment period ended. As of that time, 11.3 million Americans have enrolled in health care plans from the Marketplace exchanges for this year alone. On the other hand, the Congressional Budget Office also estimates that it would save $318 billion over the course of the next ten years.