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US Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (L) attend an event on Capitol Hill as the House of Representatives meet to consider, the 'Repeal of Obamacare Act' in Washington, DC, July 11, 2012.
In a largely symbolic gesture, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It’s a bit like that Yogi Berra line: “it's déjà vu all over again.”
Two years ago, the newly-elected GOP-led House voted to repeal the health care law. The repeal died in the Senate. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld most of the law, the House again voted to toss it out by 244-185.
GOP Congressman Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita feigned shock that this repeal will once again hit a brick wall in the Democratically-led Senate.
"Are you kidding me? The Senate’s not going to take this up? They’re gonna be like they’ve been all Congresss? What a shame."
Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack of Palm Springs also voted to repeal. But she says that doesn't mean she doesn't want health care reform. She cites parts of the Affordable Care Act she'd like to retain: the requirement that insurers don't deny patients because of pre-existing conditions, the provision that allows young adults to remain on their parents' insurance policy until they are 26 years old, and help for seniors to pay for prescription drugs. She says, "we can do all of these things without resorting to government-dictated healthcare that will cost $1.8 trillion and put 800,000 Americans out of work.” Congress is not voting on these parts of the Affordable Care Act.
One of the architects of the health care law, Democrat Henry Waxman of Los Angeles, says people are often against it until they see what's in it "and then they're for all the things that are in it." He says he hears from constituents that they're against the Affordable Care Act. "They don't want government-run health insurance," he says, but "they want Medicare" which is a government health system.
Democratic Congressman John Garamendi calls the repeal vote a political exercise. "In the November elections, they want to make this an issue? Okay. We’ll make it an issue. We’ll talk about how they’ll cause people to lose their insurance."
Meanwhile, the House still hasn’t taken up the farm bill or the mandatory half-trillion dollars in cuts to both defense and domestic spending that kick in at the end of the year.