GOP Congress makes history sends first ObamaCare repeal to president’s desk
By Bonnie K. Goodman
Examiner.com, January 7, 2016 9:31 AM MST
Five years later Republicans have finally gotten their wish; Congress passed their ObamaCare repeal and is sending it to President Barack Obama‘s desk. After more than 60 votes by the Republican House of Representatives the vote on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 means the bill passed in both the House and Senate. The House passed the bill repealing the president signature health care law with a vote passed 240-181. Republicans plan a bill signing ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 7 while Obama has vowed to veto the bill.
The bill passed with a vote of 240 to 181 in a partisan vote, but there were some exceptions. Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.) was the only Democrat voting with the Republicans, while three Republicans Reps. Bob Dold (Ill.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) voted against it.
The bill repeals the Affordable Care Act, and it also includes a measure defundingPlanned Parenthood for a year. The bill gets rid of the “expansion of Medicaid and the federal subsidies that help people buy private coverage.” Republicans delayed the repeal start until 2018, buying them enough time for a replacement law. The bill repeals “mandates for individuals,” and business with over 50 employees, eliminates fines, and repeals taxes “on medical devices and high-cost health insurance plans.”
The Senate passed the bill last month with a vote of 52-47, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) bypassed a Democratic filibuster by using “reconciliation,” fast-tracking the bill, which allowed for a simple majority vote. The House originally passed the repeal bill back in October. When the Senate passed the bill in December, they repealed even more of the original law. The House then passed the Senate’s revised version.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI made a push for the bill for the vote at a press conference. Speaker Ryan stated, “We are confronting the president with the hard, honest truth: ObamaCare doesn’t work…. The people deserve a truly patient-centered health care system, and ultimately — ultimately, this is going to require a Republican president. That’s why our top priority in 2016 is going to be offering the country a clear choice with a bold pro-growth agenda.”
The Congressional Budget Office determined that 22 million Americans would lose health insurance after 2017 if the law truly was repealed. Republicans are mostly using the bill’s passage as a 2016 campaign mechanism, showing their efficiency. The bill has no chance of President Obama signing it, he already promised a veto, and Republicans do not have the two-thirds votes necessary to override it.
Neither do Republicans have a plan replacing the health care law. Speaker Ryan however, said he asked the committee chairmen to write a new bill, incorporating previous health care “replacement bills” proposed by the House. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., commented that the speaker pushing through the bill is all politics, “This may be consistent with Speaker Ryan’s agenda of essentially doing messaging in 2016 in preparation for the presidential election.”
Democrats argue that the health care law has helped 17 million Americans gain access to health insurance that did not have it before, allowed young adults under 26 to be covered by remaining under their parents’ coverage, and prevented insurance companies from “refusing” patients with “pre-existing conditions.” Republicans counter, “The law raised health care costs, limited patients’ ability to choose their doctors, and damaged the economy.” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a doctor says, “Premiums are up, deductibles are up,” which still prevents access to health care for those who cannot afford it.
Speaker Ryan will sign the bill in a ceremony on Thursday, before sending it to President Obama. Republicans consider the bill’s passage a victory despite certainty Obama will veto it. Speaker Ryan also felt victorious telling Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday, Jan. 5, “We’ve been at this, what, for five years now “We finally found what I think is the smart strategy to be able to get a bill on [Obama’s] desk.”