This was a vote on a resolution instructing four committees in the House of Representatives (the Ways and Means Committee, Judiciary Committee, Education and the Workforce Committee, and Energy and Commerce Committee) to draft new health care reform legislation. House Republicans laid out general principles to which any new health bills should adhere, but did not propose any new programs or policies. For example, the resolution stated that new health care legislation would have been required to “foster economic growth and private sector job creation by eliminating job-killing policies and regulations; lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice…[and] eliminate duplicative government programs and wasteful spending.” Republicans intended for this new health care bill to replace a major health care law enacted in 2010. The House of Representatives had already passed legislation to repeal that law. (The Senate, however, was not expected to act on the repeal measure. In addition, President Obama had indicated he would veto any bill repealing the health care reform law.)
The healthcare reform measure that House Republicans had voted to repeal was strongly supported and signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. The law imposed a requirement that most Americans have health insurance, and was estimated to expand insurance coverage to 95% of the U.S. population. Employers with more than 50 workers were required to provide health insurance for their employees. The measure added 15 million people to the Medicaid rolls, and subsidized the purchase of private health insurance coverage for low- and middle-income people. In addition, the health care law imposed a 40% tax on high-cost insurance plans -- or those plans that are worth more than $27,500 for families, and $10,200 for individuals.
Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) urged support for this resolution: “This resolution, H. Res. 9, initiates the second step of a two-part process, which, as we all know with the 245-189 vote last night, saw repeal of the [Democratic] health care bill. Having taken that action to wipe the slate clean, we're now moving on to the far more challenging task of crafting real solutions for the American people to ensure that we can drive down the costs of health insurance and health care. This resolution instructs the four committees of jurisdiction to draft legislation that brings about meaningful health care reforms.”
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) also expressed support for the measure: “There is no doubt in my mind that supporters of…[the 2010 health care reform] bill would have passed a government-run single payer system if they could have gotten away with it. What they did pass was a first step towards total government run healthcare. The same kind of healthcare system that Great Britain is trying to abandon, because it doesn't work. We must stop America from going down the path of a government-run, single-payer healthcare system. Yesterday the House acted on our promise to repeal Obamacare, and today we must vote to start the process of replacing it with common sense, affordable solutions.”
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) urged members to oppose the resolution: “What this resolution does is ask the committees of jurisdiction to hopefully, maybe someday, if they would be so kind, to report legislation to the House that meets certain vague goals. Instead of repeal and replace, this is repeal and relax. Trust the Republicans to do the right thing. No thank you…Yesterday, this House voted…to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. The members who voted for that bill voted to return to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people based upon preexisting conditions….Instead of real language that would provide real benefits to real Americans, this resolution is simply a collection of empty promises.”
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) also opposed the measure: “If you believe that they [the Republicans] have got something new to offer to genuinely reform our health care system in a way that will help middle-class Americans instead of health insurance monopolies, I think you will want to buy some of that Republican ice cream that helps you lose weight. Our families don't need Republican platitudes; they need real help.”
The House passed this resolution by a vote of 253-175. All 239 Republicans present and 14 Democrats voted “yea.” 175 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed a resolution instructing committees in the House of Representatives to draft new health care reform legislation..