House of Representatives Votes to Repeal Health Care Reform

Posted July 11th, 2012 at 5:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted again to repeal President Barack Obama's health reform program. The vote was 244 to 185.

Most of those who voted for repeal were members of the opposition Republican Party, who say the law is bad for the economy and harms many Americans who are concerned about high health care costs.

The law, passed two years ago, is intended to increase access to health insurance and to contain rising health care costs.

Despite Republican determination to kill the law, Wednesday's vote is largely meaningless, because there is little chance it will win approval in the Senate, which is controlled by the president's Democratic Party.

Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, says voting to repeal laws despite the unlikeliness of success is common in politics.

“It's an election year and this is what is commonly called a showboat. Showboats have been used by both Democrats and Republicans, depending on which one is in charge, and it's designed to get your members and your opponents from the other party on the record as to whether they are in favor or opposed to draw attention to what you consider to be an important issue in the campaign.”

The House has voted more than 30 times to change or repeal the health care reform law, often called Obamacare. Sabato says Wednesday's vote will do little to change voters' minds about the law.

“The lines have hardened on this and an excellent recent study by the Kaiser group indicated that the overwhelming proportion of Democrats support Obamacare. The overwhelming proportion of Republicans oppose Obamacare. And independents (independent voters) are evenly split. I think those percentages are hardened and very little is going to change them.”

Sabato thinks this will not be the last vote in the House.

“Since this is the 33rd time they have voted, I'm sure there will be a 34th at some point. But the effect will be the same unless this November (Republican) Mitt Romney is elected president, Republicans gain majority of the Senate and hold the House.”

Romney, the Republican former governor of Massachusetts, is running against Mr. Obama in this year's presidential race.

The vote comes just over two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional, including a key element that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance, or pay a penalty if they do not.