Lawmakers in the House passed a bill Tuesday evening that would repeal President Obama’s health care law. But don’t be fooled: the legislation faces certain death.
A symbolic move to follow through on a promise made by Republican candidates on the campaign trail last year, the GOP-led House approved the legislation that repeals Obamacare and directs House committees to submit “an alternative, patient-centered solution.” The body voted 239 to 186.
The Senate is expected to take up repeal legislation at some point too, but Democrats there have enough votes stop it. Even if it made it onto the president’s desk, Obama has said he would veto it and the Senate doesn’t have enough votes to override.
In a statement, the Obama administration said: “If the President were presented with H.R. 596, he would veto it.”
“I don’t believe Obamacare can be fixed through piecemeal reforms,” Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne, the bill’s sponsor, said on the floor before the vote. “I think the only way to truly get rid of this harmful law is to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.”
But speaking on the floor before the vote, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer lamented that the House had voted 56 times on some sort of bill that would repeal in whole or part Obamacare.
“But this vote is different than the previous full repeal votes for one significant reason,” Hoyer said.
“Since the last repeal vote, the health insurance marketplace has opened and is working,” he said. “Over 9.5 million Americans have signed up through these marketplaces for health care coverage through 2015 so far. That means, with today’s vote, Republicans are choosing to take away health care coverage from millions of Americans.”
House majority leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged on the floor that the body had voted on repealing Obamacare “many times in this chamber.”
“Mr. Speaker, you want to know why?” McCarthy said. “The answer is very simple. The law is a disaster. We still can’t afford its costs, and the American people still don’t want it.”
Follow Alex on Twitter