The House voted to scrap Obamacare’s most unpopular mandates and taxes, putting in motion a plan to dismantle the law through the budget process despite Democratic derision and conservative-driven complaints the bill doesn’t go far enough.
Lawmakers voted along party lines, 240-189, to also defund Planned Parenthood for one year as punishment for its controversial abortion practice, a part of the package that won praise from pro-life groups even as the conservative Heritage Foundation panned the legislation as woefully short of GOP promises to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The bill got through the House on the strength of Republican votes, however, with only seven GOP members rejecting it and one Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voting “yes,” as he’s opposed Obamacare in the past.
Dubbed the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, the bill would repeal Obamacare’s insurance mandates on individuals and employers and scrap taxes on medical devices sales and generous health plans, an excise known as the “Cadillac tax.”
“With this bill, we can finally confront the president with the reality confronting working families every day: higher costs and lower quality,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican slated to replace Speaker John A. Boehner next week. “We can put on the president’s desk a bill that will dismantle Obamacare and lay the foundation for a patient-centered system. This bill would give patients more control over their health care, and now I urge the Senate to approve it.”
Although President Obama can still veto what Congress produces, Republicans want to prove they can repeal Obamacare with a simple Senate majority and a GOP president in 2017.
Democrats said it shouldn’t even get to that point, complaining it was the 61st time that House Republicans scheduled a vote to scrap all or part of Obamacare while Congress struggles to meet deadlines on the nation’s debt limit, highway funding and the federal budget.
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