This was a vote on passage of legislation that would effectively defund the landmark 2010 health care reform law that expanded health insurance coverage to 31 million previously uninsured Americans, and prohibited insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. The health care law also imposed a requirement that most Americans have health insurance. 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.
Technically, this vote was on an “enrollment correction resolution.” Such resolutions are generally used for making technical changes to previously passed legislation. In this case, the enrollment correction added legislative language defunding the health care reform law to a recently passed government-funding bill. During negotiations on the government-funding bill, Senate Democrats agreed to hold an up-or-down vote on repealing the health care law. Specifically, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to bring up this enrollment correction resolution for an up-or-down vote after it had passed the House.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) opposed the measure: “I rise in strong opposition to the resolution. The House should be debating legislation to create jobs, not procedural tricks to repeal health reform and increase our deficit. Under this resolution, pregnant women and cancer survivors could lose coverage when they most need it. Young adults would lose coverage on their parents' plans. Seniors would pay higher drug costs. Businesses and families would not receive tax credits for affordable coverage; and accountability for large insurers to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on health benefits would end. Vote against this resolution in order to preserve vital consumer protections in health reform, reduce costs, and decrease the deficit.”
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) supported this legislation, arguing it would freeze the implementation of the health care law until the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional or a new president was elected: “ObamaCare [the 2010 health care law] has been rejected by the American people. It sent 87 freshmen Republicans here [in the 2010 midterm elections] to Congress to repeal it. Every Republican in not only the House of Representatives but in the United States Senate has voted to repeal ObamaCare….It [the enrollment correction resolution] puts a freeze on it so the courts can decide, so the will of the people can be reflected not just in the House of Representatives, but eventually in the United States Senate. And also, let's bring a President that will sign this repeal, this unconstitutional taking of American liberty that is known as ObamaCare.”
The House passed this resolution by a vote of 240-185. All 237 Republicans present and 3 Democrats voted “yea.” 185 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed a resolution that would effectively defund the landmark 2010 health care reform law that expanded health insurance coverage to 31 million previously uninsured Americans, and prohibited insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. The Senate, however, rejected the measure by a vote of 47-53. Thus, this legislation repealing the health care reform law was not enacted, and the landmark 2010 health care reform law remained intact.