WASHINGTON (AP) -- July 11, 2012
The Republican-House voted Wednesday to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. But the election year move stands no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate,
The largely symbolic vote was 244-185, with five Democrats defectors siding with Republicans.
By Republican count, the vote marked the 33rd time in 18 months that the Republican majority has tried to eliminate, defund or otherwise scale back the program -- opponents scornfully call it "Obamacare" -- since the party took control of the Hhealtuse.
Ahead of the November election each party is trying to score political points by bringing up issues they know the other party opposes. House members then use whatever statements are made in the debate that suit their purposes in their campaigns.
House Republicans assailed the health care law-- Obama's signature domestic achievement -- as a job-killing threat to the economic recovery, but Democrats said repeal would eliminate consumer protections that already have affected millions.
At its core, the law will require nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance beginning in 2014, a so-called individual mandate that Republicans seized on to make their case that the program amounted to a government takeover of health care. The law's constitutionality was upheld two weeks ago in a 5-4 Supreme Court opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
There was never any doubt that Republicans had the votes to pass the repeal in the House on Wednesday -- or that it would die in the Senate, where Democrats possessed more than enough strength to block it.
That's what happened in January 2011, when the newly installed Republican majority first voted to repeal the law a few days after taking office.
Public reaction to the law has been consistently negative, but apart from conservative Republicans, it is less clear what support exists for repeal.
In a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month, 47 percent of those surveyed said they opposed the law, 47 percent said they supported it and 6 percent expressed no opinion.
Among those who said they were opposed or had no opinion, 33 percent said they wanted it all repealed, 30 percent said they wanted parts repealed and 34 percent said they wanted to wait and see what happens without repeal.
Associated Press Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP writers Alan Fram and Donna Cassata contributed to this story.