|All 239 Republicans present voted for repeal, joined by five Democrats (roll call). Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05) stood with their Republican colleagues, while Democrats Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Leonard Boswell (IA-03) voted no along with the rest of the Democratic caucus. The Iowans also split on party lines over the unsuccessful Democratic "motion to recommit with instructions" right before the vote on repeal. That motion to recommit stipulated that members of Congress who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act would lose their federal health care benefits.
I've posted some of the Congressional reaction below and will add more as statements come in from the U.S. House representatives and their challengers. Boswell called attention to the lack of a GOP plan to replace health care reform--a fact several other House Democrats ridiculed during speeches on the House floor. King included a link to his op-ed column in today's Des Moines Register. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee slammed Republicans for voting against the Democratic "motion to recommit."
Note: while some reports refer to more than 30 U.S. House votes to repeal the 2010 law, veteran Congressional correspondent Jamie Dupree noted that this is only the second vote to repeal the law in its entirety. Iowa's representatives also split on party lines in that January 2011 vote.
Statement from Representative Bruce Braley (emphasis in original):
Braley Statement on House Vote to Repeal Healthcare Reform Law
Washington, D.C. - Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement today after voting against a Republican bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
"I voted against repeal today for the sake of thousands of Iowans like my nephew, Tucker. Tucker survived a fight with liver cancer at age 2 because he had health insurance. But his parents lived in constant fear of losing their jobs because if they did, Tucker would be denied new insurance due to his pre-existing condition. The healthcare reform law ended those fears - but repealing the law would roll back this important reform and many more.
"Because of the Affordable Care Act, 18,000 young Iowans can stay on their parents' insurance up to age 26, insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage due to preexisting conditions, screenings for diseases like breast cancer are covered 100 percent, and 42,000 Iowa seniors are saving an average of $615 per year on their Medicare prescription drug benefits.
"Iowans can't afford to go back to where we started."
Statement from Representative Dave Loebsack:
Loebsack Statement on House Vote to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"Iowans are sick of more politics as usual while families continue to struggle. It is time to focus on jobs and getting our economy back on track, rather than taking away coverage from children with pre-existing conditions, reopening the Medicare donut hole, and allowing insurance companies to charge women higher premiums simply because they are female. Unfortunately, today's vote was only about political posturing, plain and simple."
Statement from Representative Leonard Boswell:
Boswell Statement on GOP Attempt to Repeal Health Care
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Leonard Boswell (IA-3) released a statement following today's vote on H.R. 6079, the Patients' Rights Repeal Act:
"Republicans, after thirty-two previous attempts, are trying AGAIN to deny affordable health care for thousands of Iowans and millions of Americans, including our children and seniors. A repeal would cause the Medicare Trust Fund to become insolvent in a mere four years, raise prescription drug costs, take away health insurance for over six million young adults who were guaranteed coverage under a parent's plan, and put 17 million children with pre-existing conditions in limbo of losing their coverage.
"They claim they want to 'repeal and replace,' but they've yet to say what they would replace it with. Republicans had nearly two decades to do something and worse than failing, they never even made an attempt. Thankfully this legislation is going nowhere. It accomplishes nothing but show Americans where the House GOP's misguided priorities are these days and creates the very uncertainty that Republicans pretend to decry. Rehashing old debate over the health care bill that was passed by Congress, signed into law and upheld by the highest court in the land is not helping millions of Americans who are jobless nor is it helping us rebuild our nation's economy."
Statement from Representative Tom Latham, who is running against Boswell in the new IA-03:
LATHAM TO CAST VOTE TO RE-ESTABLISH PATIENT-CENTERED HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA
CONTINUES PUSH TO REPEAL NEW HEALTH CARE LAW AND FIGHT FOR BETTER SOLUTIONS FOR ALL AMERICANS
Washington, Jul 11 - Iowa Congressman Tom Latham will vote late Wednesday afternoon to repeal President Obama's health care law that enables the government takeover of American health care. Latham's vote is part of his longstanding effort to replace the unpopular and harmful law with common-sense reforms that will increase health care access and lower costs for hardworking Americans without giving away control of their personal health care decisions to Washington bureaucrats.
"We've learned a good deal about how harmful this law will continue to be to the stability of our health care system, patient choice and the economy. It was built on a foundation of tax hikes, broken promises, budgeting gimmicks and accounting tricks that explodes health care costs and plunges our country even further into debt. While the Supreme Court had the duty to determine the constitutionality of this law, it did not have the authority to determine if it is good or bad policy for hardworking Iowans. Thankfully, it is still the American people who ultimately have the power and the right to make that final judgment. And I believe that the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to repeal this harmful and misguided law and start over."
Latham has already authored his own health care reform legislation, HR 364, which would control health care costs, expand access to quality health care to more Americans and wouldn't add a penny to the federal debt.
"My bill provides a solution made up of better ideas that offer better solutions that will produce the best results for everyone. It is a serious, patient-centered approach that gives the American people a voice in this process and puts them in control of their own health care, not the government," Congressman Latham said.
Congressman Latham, who opposed the president's and congressional Democrats' health care law when it was first passed by Congress, joined a majority of his colleagues in the House in early 2011 to repeal the health care legislation. Since then, he's repeatedly stood on principle and fought to repeal the most harmful individual provisions in the new law while pushing for legislation he authored as a better alternative.
Congressman Latham's legislation, titled the "Common Sense Health Reform Americans Actually Want Act," includes the following provisions:
-- It guarantees affordable health care to those with pre-existing conditions, without making coverage unaffordable for others.
-- It allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until the age of 26.
-- It greatly reduces the cost of individual health policies by allowing a full deduction for health insurance premiums - whether or not a taxpayer itemizes deductions.
-- It allows health insurance plans to be purchased across state lines.
-- It establishes small business health plans, so small employers can pool together to negotiate for lower premiums for workers.
-- It contains real medical liability reform, saving money by reining in unnecessary medical procedures.
-- It enhances health savings accounts by allowing taxpayers to use HSA funds to pay the premiums for the health insurance plan that is paired with the account.
-- It cracks down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, saving billions
Statement from Representative Steve King (emphasis in original):
King: Government's Authority to Coerce Will Not End with ObamaCare
Washington, DC- Congressman Steve King released the following statement after voting to repeal ObamaCare on the House floor today:
"After the Supreme Court's disappointing ruling last week I voted again for 100 percent repeal of ObamaCare today," said King. "There is no end to how government can control our lives if ObamaCare remains the law of the land. This unjust law will not improve healthcare and it will only make costs soar. The President's 'solution' brings about more problems than it solves.
We must pull this law out by the roots so that our debt can be reigned in, businesses can have assurance about the future and families can afford their health insurance. If Senate Democrats and the President continue to defend their unpopular law, the American people will have the chance to vote for the repeal of ObamaCare in November."
To view Congressman King's Editorial "Government's authority to coerce will not end with ObamaCare" originally printed in the Des Moines Register today, click here.
King's Congressional website posted the full text of the op-ed piece from the July 11 Des Moines Register:
Our country anxiously watched the Supreme Court uphold Obamacare's individual mandate and strike down a part of the law's Medicaid expansion. I stood on the steps of the Supreme Court as supporters of Obamacare claimed victory, yet the primary argument I made along with other Obamacare opponents won the day - that the individual mandate, as written, exceeded even today's expansive interpretations of Congress' power under the commerce clause. The argument to the contrary, made by the Obama administration, was resoundingly rejected by the court.
The Supreme Court shocked the legal world when it ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional, not under Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce, but under Congress' taxing power.
In doing so, the Supreme Court became the first federal court to determine that the individual mandate could be classified as a "tax" for constitutional purposes. All of the previous courts that looked at this case determined that it was a mandate with a penalty for failure to comply. The law itself refers to the provision as a "mandate" with a "penalty" no less than 18 times. It never refers to the penalty as a "tax."
The court did, however, invalidate the part of the Obamacare's Medicaid expansion that would have taken away current Medicaid funding (a figurative "gun to the head," in the words of the court) from states that did not follow Obamacare's order to dramatically increase their Medicaid programs.
This represents the first major decision since the New Deal in which the court has placed limits on Congress' spending power, and it will benefit states that would otherwise have been forced to drastically expand their Medicaid programs.
This expansion would cost states billions and would further crowd out other important state priorities, such as education, transportation and public safety, all in the name of throwing millions into a failing, unsustainable Medicaid system.
What positives can advocates of limited, constitutional government draw from the decision? The court affirmed that Congress does not have the power to compel someone to participate in commerce under the commerce clause. As the court said, "Everyone will likely participate in the markets for food, clothing, transportation, shelter, or energy; that does not authorize Congress ... to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions."
This argument, which had been dismissed as frivolous by Obamacare supporters, succeeded at the Supreme Court and now is part of binding case law.
On the downside, the court's decision threatens to dramatically expand Congress' taxing power. In the past, the court has been very cautious in how it defines "taxes" as opposed to how it defines "penalties," because each definition has significant implications with regard to government authority.
By blurring the lines between a tax and a penalty, the court might have opened up a bigger can of worms than it closed by capping the regulatory power under the commerce clause. If Congress can command that you buy health insurance and declare the penalty a "tax," can it compel you to do anything it wants and tax you if you don't?
Ultimately, it might take time for the long-term implications of the Supreme Court's decision to play out. In the meantime, Obamacare remains a threat to our country's health care system. Obamacare will continue to drive up the costs of health insurance, put seniors' health care in jeopardy and reduce access to quality, affordable care.
The Supreme Court did, undeniably, get one thing right in its decision: The court emphasized that its decision "does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people."
Today, the House of Representatives will again show our resolve to repeal Obamacare. If it was not already clear which members of Congress were representing their voice and standing by their side in opposition to Obamacare, it will be clear after today.
If the Senate and president once again ignore the American people and come to the defense of Obamacare, the people will have to determine the final fate of Obamacare at the ballot box in November.
Statement from Christie Vilsack, King's Democratic challenger in the new IA-04:
Christie Vilsack's statement on health care vote
AMES, IA - Christie Vilsack, candidate for Congress in the 4th Congressional District, released the following statement in response to Congressman King's irresponsible vote to reduce access to health care for Iowans:
"I feel strongly that health care must be affordable, accessible, and high quality for all Americans. In order to accomplish that, we must find ways to work together and reform the health care bill.
"Unfortunately, today's vote shows that Congressman King is more interested in pursuing his own, partisan agenda than he is in having a serious discussion. These are the kind of political stunts that Iowans are tired of and it's exactly why we need a change in Washington. Instead of voting 31 times to repeal health care, Congress should have been focused on important issues like job creation or balancing the budget, issues that Congressman King and his colleagues have failed to address.
"Congressman King's vote to fully repeal, instead of reform, the health care bill, would kick thousands of young Iowans off of their parent's health insurance, force seniors to pay more for prescription drugs, and jeopardize health centers in Iowa. That's not responsible and it's not what's best for the people of the 4th District."
Last month, Vilsack announced a seven-point reform plan designed to make health care more affordable for Iowans. The plan includes provisions to control soaring premiums, protect seniors from increased out-of-pocket expenses, lower prescription drug costs, decrease the burden on small businesses, cut administrative costs, encourage prevention programs, and reduce the regulatory burden on rural health care providers.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out virtually identical press releases slamming King and Latham. Here is the King version:
VOTE ALERT: Congressman King Protects Own Health Care, Profits for Insurance Companies
Instead of creating jobs, Congressman Steve King (IA-04) just voted yet again to protect his own taxpayer-funded lifetime health care and the profits of his insurance company campaign donors. While Congressman Steve King protects health care for Members of Congress like himself and protect insurance company profits, he votes to end critical patient protections and raise prescription drug costs for seniors.
Congressman Steve King has taken $87,735 from insurance companies for his own campaign.
"Rather than creating jobs, Congressman Steve King voted yet again to protect his own taxpayer-funded lifetime health care and the insurance company profits of his own campaign contributors," said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Congressman King again showed his priority is protecting himself and his special interest contributors at the expense of critical patient protections for families and jobs for the middle class. Instead of looking out for himself and health insurance company profits, Iowa voters want Congressman King to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and get the economy moving."
Congressman King Voted to Protect Insurance Companies Profits. On July 11, 2012, House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Eliminating this piece of legislation would allow insurance companies to: (1) discriminate against patients with preexisting conditions; (2) charge women more than men for health coverage; (3) kick young adults off their parents plan; and (4) reconstitute lifetime and annual limits for health care benefits. Additionally, repealing the law would reopen the prescription drug donut hole and remove preventative health care screenings from Medicare. [HR 6079, Vote #460, 7/11/12]
Congressman King Voted to Protect Health Care Benefits for Members of Congress. On July 11, 2012, House Republicans voted against a plan that would have required members of Congress to forfeit their taxpayer funded health care benefits should they support repealing the Affordable Care Act. [HR 6079, Vote #459, 7/11/12]
Repealing Health Law Would Mean More Benefits for Members of Congress. "Repealing President Obama's healthcare law would let members of Congress keep their government-subsidized insurance coverage after they retire - a benefit they lost under the health law. The Affordable Care Act - specifically, a Republican amendment to the Affordable Care Act - kicked members of Congress and their aides out of the healthcare program for federal employees. Instead, lawmakers and staff have to get coverage through the insurance exchanges created by the healthcare law. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who championed that provision, said it ensures that lawmakers live under the same rules as their constituents." [The Hill, 7/9/12]
Today's Voted Marked the GOP's 31st Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Act. "The House Rules Committee takes up a bill Monday called the 'Repeal of Obamacare Act' And just like it says, the bill would wipe away the president's Affordable Care Act. A vote of the full House is planned for Wednesday. It's the first legislative response from House Republicans after the Supreme Court upheld the law. But it is far from the first time the GOP has voted for repeal. Over the past 18 months, the House has taken 30 floor votes to try to repeal, defund or dismantle the health care law. The first attempt came on Jan. 19, 2011 just two weeks after the GOP took control of the House." [NPR, 7/9/12]
Congressman King Has Taken $87,735 from Insurance Industry. Congressman King has taken at least $87,735 from the insurance industry, including health care companies. [opensecrets.org, accessed 6/28/12]