House votes to repeal health care law
If the court won’t strike it down, then Congress will seek to repeal it. That was the response Wednesday by a majority of U.S. representatives as the House voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold the law.
By a 244-185 vote, the House passed a bill to scrap the much-reviled health care law, which was rammed through Congress in 2010. While many suggest prospects of such a vote this year in the Senate are dim, the House action is no less a laudable achievement, signaling that sentiment to kill Obamacare—described by some as the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade and the largest tax increase in U.S. history—is alive and well.
Wednesday’s vote marked the second time House conservatives have sought to take down President Obama’s signature legislative achievement in full. In the first major vote of the 112th Congress, on Jan. 19, 2011, the House voted 245-189 to kill the 2010 law; the Senate nixed the effort two weeks later, with 51 senators voting to keep the law on the books. All told, the House has now voted 33 times to repeal some or all of the health care law.
Moments after the Supreme Court’s disappointing decision June 28 to uphold the health care law, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, among others, urged lawmakers to move full-steam ahead with efforts to repeal what ERLC President Richard Land has called an “abortion-funding, freedom-snatching” law.
“The health care law and its resulting regulations are a failed solution for addressing the broken health care system in our country,” Land wrote in a July 10 letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), commending them for “moving swiftly to vote again to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Violations of religious freedom, funding of abortion and a financial burden placed on the public are three reasons, Land wrote, “among many others” to repeal the law and start over.
The decisive vote on the Repeal of Obamacare Act—which earned nearly identical support as in the first go-round of repeal in the House 18 months earlier—is largely a testament to the continued outcry among millions of Americans telling their elected officials to repeal and replace the law.
Repeal, Land said in an action alert ahead of the vote, is “the first step toward principled health care reform that will lower costs and uphold quality care without subsidizing abortion with federal dollars. Our lawmakers need to know that we will not rest until this dangerous law is thrown on the dustbin of history.”
What the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health care law means is that abortion and religious freedom concerns remain. One week before the court handed down its landmark decision on the law, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, spoke in no uncertain terms about such moral objections.
“[W]e call on President Obama to instruct the Department of Health and Human Services to withdraw its insistence that health care plans provide contraceptives and abortion causing drugs and devices and instead exempt from this requirement all religious organizations and people of faith, whether in their private capacity or as employers, who declare religious objection to such coverage,” reads a resolution on religious freedom approved with strong backing by Southern Baptists. “We deplore the provision in the PPACA that sets up a separate abortion fund in health care plans as well as the administration’s efforts to require United States citizens to pay for abortion through their health care premiums contrary to the dictates of their faith.”
With the harmful health care law set to take full effect in 2014, and with some components set to take effect much sooner, such as a mandate that religious employers violate their consciences to provide free access to abortion-causing products, the momentum toward repealing and replacing Obamacare with principled reform ought to grow, not slow.
In Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion to uphold the law, he wrote that “Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law,” adding that policy judgments are “entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders.” This week, the House took that to heart by voting to reconsider a grievous policy judgment of 2010. Now the Senate should do the same.
To see how your representative voted on the bill to repeal the 2010 health care law, please click here. To view the ERLC’s fact sheet “What Obamacare Means for You,” click here. If you think Congress should take the first step toward principled health care reform by repealing the 2010 law, please urge your senators to support and call for a vote on the House-passed vote to repeal the law.