WASHINGTON — House Republicans voted Wednesday, July 11th to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law despite Democratic objections that the move was a waste of time.
The vote amounted to political theater because the measure is sure to die in the Democratic-led Senate and the White House has made clear Obama would veto any repeal.
Five Democrats joined the Republican majority in the 244-185 vote. Democratic leaders said a handful of their caucus members facing tough re-election battles in November might side with the Republicans on the volatile issue.
Wednesday’s vote was the latest of more than 30 House GOP efforts to undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, including previous Republican moves to repeal the measure or cut funding for various provisions.
The battle over the law is playing out in part in southeastern Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker is one of several Republican governors refusing to implement the bill, and Rep. Paul Ryan is at the forefront of the repeal push.
Meanwhile, many in Wisconsin are unhappy about two of Wisconsin’s biggest national names taking such a hard-line stance against the health care law.
Ryan is at the forefront of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare to critics of the law.
“The point of the vote on the health care law is, it’s up to the people, through their elected representatives,” Ryan said.
Congress has voted to repeal the law 30 times, though Wednesday was their first repeal vote since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, but at the same time, defined a key provision of it as a “tax.”
“All the tax increases in Obamacare are making it harder for businesses to create jobs,” Ryan said.
Those supporting the health care law, including groups like Citizen Action of Wisconsin, call the vote “election-year political posturing” to get Democrats to look like they’re voting for higher taxes.
“It’s another political stunt. It’s playing politics with people’s lives. It’s not going to pass,” Robert Kraig with Citizen Action Wisconsin said.
Both sides acknowledge with a democratically-controlled Senate and White House, the repeal effort is mostly symbolic.
Kraig says the local twist that angers him is Gov. Walker’s refusal to apply the law in Wisconsin until after the November election.
“He’s sounding like a segregationist governor in the 60s refusing to implement civil rights law. There are a whole lot of reforms in this law that are really effective and most importantly, it’s the only thing on the table. Conservatives have not offered anything. They talk about repeal and replace, but they’ve offered no alternative legislation,” Kraig said.
“What we want to have in Wisconsin and what Scott Walker’s trying to advocate is patient-centered health care solutions that put us as patients in charge of our health care with our doctors,” Ryan said.
Five Democrats voted in favor of a repeal on Wednesday, but otherwise, the vote went along party lines.
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