Just under the one-year mark since the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s health care law, the House is set next week to vote on a full repeal of what GOP lawmakers dub “Obamacare.”
The announcement came in a midday tweet sent Wednesday from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Since taking control of the House in 2011, Republicans have brought multiple bills to the floor aimed at rolling back many of the more controversial provisions contained in what is officially known as the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in March 2010.
This would only be the third time, though, that Republicans have allowed for consideration of legislation that would repeal the entire health care bill in a single vote. As part of their campaign promise during the 2010 election cycle, Republican leaders brought repeal legislation to the floor in the very first days of the 112th Congress.
Then, following the Supreme Court’s decision, the House voted again to overturn the law in July of last year. The bills passed on party line votes both times and were never taken up by the Senate.
The timing of this new repeal measure comes after a revolt by the more conservative sect of the Republican rank and file over a bill that was scheduled for floor consideration on April 24. It would take about $3.7 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to extend enrollment in the high-risk pools, which Obama put the brakes on in February.
Critics in Congress said the bill bolstered the existing health care law rather than doing away with its provisions. The Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation weighed in as well, pledging to score any vote on the legislation. As the number of committed “yes” votes dwindled, Republican leaders were forced to pull it off the floor after adopting on the rule for consideration, saying they would take it up again sometime this month.
The decision to schedule a full repeal vote now could be leadership’s olive branch to the grumbling masses, but Cantor's spokesman, Rory Cooper, said the timing was, in part, designed to give the party's freshman class a chance to formally weigh in on the issue for the first time.
"House Republicans wanted to provide freshman and all other members an opportunity to have their voices heard on ObamaCare as its implementation kicks in and the American public sees healthcare costs rise, quality of care reduced and people getting kicked off their preferred plan," Cooper said in a statement. "Surely, if Democrats still support this law, they'll relish the opportunity to put their names behind it, again. Republicans remain committed to patient-centered health care reform rather than the government-centered ObamaCare."
— Emily Ethridge contributed to this report.