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GOP-led House votes to repeal Obama’s health-care overhaul

Published: Thu, January 20, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.



House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, to discuss the upcoming vote to repeal the health care bill.

Staff/wire report


Swiftly honoring a campaign pledge, newly empowered Republicans pushed legislation to repeal the nation’s year-old health care overhaul through the House Wednesday night, brushing aside implacable opposition in the Senate and a veto threat from President Barack Obama.

The 245-189 vote was largely along party lines, and cleared the way for the second phase of the “repeal and replace” promise that victorious Republicans made to the voters last fall. GOP officials said that in the coming months, congressional committees will propose changes to the existing legislation, calling for elimination of a requirement for individuals to purchase coverage, for example, and recommending curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Republicans also intend to try to reverse many of the changes Democrats made to Medicare Advantage, the private alternative to the traditional government-run health care program for seniors.

Like the repeal bill itself, these other measures will require Senate approval and a presidential signature to take effect, and the prospect is for months of maneuvering on the issue.

Debate across two days leading to the vote was markedly restrained, as lawmakers in both political parties observed self-imposed vows of civility in the wake of the shooting rampage in Arizona that left six dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords wounded.

But there was no mistaking the significance many first-term Republican lawmakers attached to a day they had long waited for, finally getting a chance to speak and then vote on the House floor against a law they had campaigned for months to repeal.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., said the legislation produced by Obama and congressional Democrats was a “job-killing, socialistic” approach to health care. Rep. Frank Guinta of New Hampshire, who defeated a Democratic incumbent last fall, said it was misguided, needing repeal.

“The American people have soundly, soundly rejected the Democrats’ government takeover of health care,” said Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida.

Rep. Steve Southerland, also of Florida, said the law imposes a crushing tax burden on businesses, and he predicted “1.6 million jobs will be lost by 2014 due to this mandate” to require many businesses to provide coverage for employees.

Both Floridians won their seats by turning out Democratic incumbents.

Valley Rep. Tim Ryan, D-17th, however, said, the vote clarified what the new Republicans in Congress stand for:

“They are saying to every Medicare recipient that is struggling to make ends meet that they want them to pay for co-pays for preventative care, while the current system does not charge them. They are saying to all those seniors that fall into the Part D donut hole that they should not get a 50 percent discount on their prescriptions while they are in the donut hole. They are saying to all those under 26 years old that they should no longer be able to stay on their parents insurance. They are saying that a small business that can now deduct the costs of the health care from her taxes should have a tax increase.

“In short, they say the wealthiest country in the world can give bailouts to big Wall St. banks, but cannot provide modest relief for hard working families that play by the rules. All the while, these Republican members will be accepting government subsidized health care benefits. Thank God this vote is purely symbolic and has no real chance of harming the citizens that it is now benefiting.”

Rep. Michelle Bachman of Minnesota, a third-term conservative with strong support among TEA party activists, though, said, “This is not symbolic. This is why we were sent here.”

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., agreed, accusing some Republicans of “the height of hypocrisy” by voting to repeal a vast expansion of health care at the same time they had signed up for coverage for their families through a government-organized program available to lawmakers.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said that despite claims of employment loss, the economy had added jobs in each of the past 10 months.

In one of the most animated speeches of two days of debate, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said repeal would return power to insurance companies. “Has anybody, any family in America, any single mother, any spouse, any child, any grandparent met a more bureaucratic system than the American health insurance system? There is no more bureaucratic system.”

One area Republican, Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, said he voted for the repeal, “with hopes that it will spur bipartisan cooperation to replace provisions and improve the law.”

In addition, he said he continues to support parts of the law, some with solid bipartisan backing.

“We should keep the good, like pre-existing conditions and letting kids stay on parents’ plans, and get rid of 1,900 pages that raise taxes, impose higher costs and cost jobs,” LaTourette said.

He expressed displeasure that the bill was written behind closed doors and said he fears many will lose their employer-provided plans. The bill ballooned from an effort to help the uninsured into a massive and complicated effort that will harm seniors and small businesses and place additional budgetary stress on states.

LaTourette said further that he’s troubled some don’t believe the law can be improved. One of the main provisions – the mandate that people get insurance from state exchanges – doesn’t happen until 2014, is mired in lawsuits questioning its constitutionality, and the IRS has indicated it might need $5 to $10 billion to implement it and three other provisions in the law, he said.

LaTourette also questioned some priorities in the new law.

“The law is far from perfect when nutritional labeling of donuts is imminent, but it will take a decade to close the donut hole for seniors with high drug costs. We can and should do better.”

Newly elected Rep. Mike Kelly of Butler, Pa., R-3rd, also contended the health reform bill was “rushed through Congress last year and signed into law before most lawmakers even read the 2000-page bill.

“We want to reform our health care system to make it more affordable and available, but we want to do it responsibly....

And newly elected Bill Johnson, R-6th, also vowed to work to pass a reform bill that controls costs and ensures that “Americans with pre-existing conditions get the care they need at a price they can afford.”

Johnson contended that in his six-county district, which includes Columbiana County, “more than 26,000 senior citizens currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage are at risk of losing this program because of the $200 billion in cuts to Medicare required by the job-destroying healthcare law.”

The repeal “will give us the opportunity to start over and enact real patient-focused healthcare reforms,” Johnson said.

Three Democrats voted with Republicans on the repeal measure: Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Mike Ross of Arkansas.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the legislation will not see the light of day there, but the GOP leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said bluntly, “I assure you we will” have a vote on it.

The law faces another challenge, well beyond the reach of Obama’s veto pen. More than half the states have filed suits against it, and while some judges have upheld the legislation, one recently ruled it was unconstitutional to require individuals to purchase insurance. The Supreme Court is widely expected to have the final word.

The Obama administration has made a major effort in recent days to emphasize parts of the bill that have met with public approval, including one that permits children to age 26 to remain on their parents’ policies if they do not have on-the-job coverage of their own. Democrats also argue that repeal would short-circuit other changes yet to take effect, including a ban on the insurance industry’s practice of denying coverage or charging sharply higher premiums on the basis of a pre-existing medical condition.

Republicans intend to address the same issues with legislation they say they will bring to the House floor in the coming months, according to officials who have been involved in discussions on the issue, but no details were immediately available.

Last year, for example, the Republicans proposed a 10-year, $25 billion program to help states fund programs in which high-risk individuals could receive affordable coverage.

GOP leaders are working on the assumption that the repeal legislation will not become law, and they intend to draft future bills as changes to the structure that Obama and Democrats put into place.

On one point, they conceded no change was warranted. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters on Tuesday seniors would be permitted to keep the $250 they have been promised to help defray the cost of drugs under the Medicare prescription benefit.

The legislation Obama signed last year was sweeping in its scope.

The Congressional Budget Office said at the time that when fully enacted, it would spread coverage to tens of millions who now lack it and — in a forecast rejected by Republicans — reduce federal deficits over the next decade.

Beginning in 2014, millions of Americans would be required to carry health insurance, whether through an employer, a government program, or their own purchase. New insurance marketplaces called exchanges would open in each state, enabling individuals and small businesses to pick from menus of private plans that met government standards. Federal subsidies would help defray the costs.


1LtMacGowan(689 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

What a bunch of grand standing. They are just doing this so that when this bill either dies in the senate or is vetoed (Thank Allah), that they can say "Hey we tried!".

We didn't even come close to the socialized medical system we deserve but the tea baggers and the GOP are determined to destroy what little progress we've made towards a better healthcare system.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

So what? Obama & the Senate are still Democrats so this was a BIG waste of time instead of working on the really critical areas of government: lowering taxes, making government smaller, and improving national security. Get with it GOP or you will be gone in 2012. Voters have no patience with our economy and lack of jobs in shambles.

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3davidjohn(144 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

a different view from nro

The Battle Rejoined

The House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare today by a vote of 245 to 189. That’s a most fitting way for the 112th Congress to begin.

The new Republican majority was propelled into office in large part because of the party’s steadfast opposition to the new health-care law. Republican candidates promised without exception that they would vote to repeal Obamacare if they won office. Voters responded by electing more Republicans to the U.S. House than at any time since 1946. Republicans had to keep faith with their constituents and do as they said they would.

Some may argue the vote was a meaningless exercise, as the Senate is not likely to go along, and the president would veto the bill anyway in the unlikely event it was presented to him. But that kind of thinking is inconsistent with the way our government and politics work. For starters, it’s not inconceivable that a few Democratic senators, particularly those up for reelection in 2012, might welcome the chance to show disapproval of Obamacare, now that they have seen what happened to some of their House and Senate colleagues in the 2010 midterm election. Getting them on the record in that regard would be extremely important as the battle over this legislation unfolds over the coming months and years.

continued on next comment

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4davidjohn(144 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The argument that the repeal effort is meaningless is offered in bad faith. Everyone knew that Pres. George W. Bush would veto funding for embryonic-stem-cell funding, but no one — not even we — said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was therefore wasting our time in advocating it. Moreover, in our constitutional system of government, the House and Senate often take positions that are opposed by the other chamber, and presidents quite regularly send proposals to Congress that are thought to be “dead on arrival.” That does not make them unimportant. The president and his allies want to create the perception that Obamacare is now a settled matter, and that Republicans should get over it. Passage by the House of full repeal makes it abundantly clear that Obamacare is far from a settled matter. That’s a crucial message to send to the public, to employers, to the states, and to participants in the health sector, as they make decisions about what is likely to happen with Obamacare in coming years.

The repeal vote is also an important statement for political accountability. The president and his allies jammed Obamacare through Congress with an arrogance not seen in many years. They had large majorities in the 111th Congress, and they were determined to use it to pass a government-run health plan, come what may. At every crucial step, they chose to go it alone with Democrats rather than compromise in any meaningful way. To get the votes for passage, they bullied opponents, bought votes, and made an end run around the Senate after Scott Brown’s victory — all because they wanted to pass their partisan and government-heavy health-care plan without any compromise whatsoever. (Procedurally, the most outrageous Democratic maneuver was to change election law in Massachusetts so that an appointed senator, Paul Kirk, could put the bill over the top.)

The only remedy for such a brazen power play is to oust those who orchestrated it at the next opportunity, which the voters did in November, and to undo the offending legislation. The House vote is just the first step toward remedying this situation and giving the American people a reform plan built on consensus, not division.

But it is just that, a first step. This will be a long struggle. The proponents of government-run health care are dug in, and will do anything to stop repeal. Republicans must bring an equal amount of determination and persistence to the fight — because the stakes could not be higher. In terms of spending, deficits, debt, and size of government, health care is the central battlefield. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, no matter what else happens, the country will move steadily toward ever higher levels of spending and taxation, slower growth and less opportunity, and lower-quality health care. That cannot be allowed to happen. And today’s vote gives us hope that it won’t.

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5JME(801 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"If Obamacare is allowed to stand, no matter what else happens, the country will move steadily toward ever higher levels of spending and taxation, slower growth and less opportunity, and lower-quality health care"

If you spend some time in Canada, you will see exactly this. I travel there for work, and it's always an expensive trip.

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6JME(801 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

When I go to Montreal, I spend around $30 for dinner with no one else with me, and not at an extravagant restaurant.
6-pack of Budweiser runs around $10.50 in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
At those points in time, the currency exchange was 0.99 on the dollar - virtually even.

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7JME(801 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Another Canadian high costs example: I was speaking with someone at one of the companies I visit in Montreal, who was looking for a new car. He was going to buy it in New York, and pay the duty taxes for bringing it into Canada. He said it was much cheaper to do it this way, than to just buy one in Canada.

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8DJ0(72 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

.. that boy from Chicago will be the ruin of us all if his policies aren't stopped!!

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9sparky22(14 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Repeal health care? Might as well repeal the law saying car insurance is mandatory too, right? I mean, the way I drive has no consequences bearing down on crazies on the street with me. But be darn sure, if anyone hits me, they better have insurance to pay for the damage they caused. Well, maybe I should have it too, just in case they don't. Even if I never use it. I should go out on the limb and purchase me some car insurance. It would probably lower costs if anything bad did ever happen.

Catch the drift?

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10Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Stupid and it make me ashamed that I come from Ohio

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11InColumbiana(63 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"so that the lazy ones can have health care. All they have to do is repeal the law that says hospitals have to treat everyone no matter what"

Lets try to keep the facts straight:

A lot of people don't have health insurance through their workplace, 9.5% unemployment means even more don't even have work to start with, others are not "insurable" due to health issues like birth defects or loosing insurance after some event (like cancer).

Hospitals ONLY have to treat people who show up in ERs and the federal government reimburses most of those unpaid ER costs. If a hospital doesn't have an ER, then they are not forced to treat anyone.

And I agree about the car insurance... as a matter of fact, what gives the government the right to even put a license plate on my privately owned property?

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12jojuggie(1608 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Obamacare will add over 30,000,000 people to its rolls, add 16,000 highly paid IRS agents to oversee this boondogle, and the Dems say they will reduce costs.Maybe this administration will use magicans to accomplish this.

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13LtMacGowan(689 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

What I find laughable is that all of a sudden now the the tea baggers propelled the GOP to a majority position in the house, people are acting like now EVERYONE opposes the healthcare reform law and that just isn't so, there are millions of people that supported it by default by voting for democratic candidates.

Just because some of those candidates didn't win doesn't mean all those people who support the healthcare reform have gone away or changed their minds.

What the house did was political grand standing, they knew they couldn't repeal it so they are just doing this so they can say to their constituents "hey we tried, it was those evil socialist democrats that are to blame!"

As to "lowering taxes, making government smaller, and improving national security." pffft please.

We need higher taxes and selected spending cuts to reduce the deficit, I and a large number of people would like to see the federal government expand a bit. i.e. Nationalize a few certain industries such as Healthcare and Energy.

and improving national security? as it stands now people can get FISA wire taps on anyone they want, with out having to get a warrant, thus they are answerable to no one. The regular courts can't even claim jurisdiction over what goes on there.

We need to expand the Government Accountability Office's mission to shine a light on all the wrong doing that's happening thats hiding behind the current buzz word of "National Security".

and before anyone calls me a Socialist, I'm a Social Democrat, there is a difference please look it up before making any tarded up remarks about Socialism.

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14Tigerlily(506 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago


How dare you ask the people in these forums to learn something!

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