Yesterday the U.S. House approved a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act by 239 votes to 186 (roll call). No Democrats supported the bill, and only three Republicans broke ranks with their party to oppose it. By some counts, it was the 56th time the Republican-led House has voted to repeal all or part of the 2010 health care reform law. Still, many newly-elected GOP lawmakers wanted a chance to weigh in after campaigning against Obamacare.
Iowa's four representatives split along the usual party lines, with Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) voting yes and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) opposed. Loebsack has occasionally voted for Republican bills that reverse specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but he has never supported any of the broad repeal bills.
I enclose below statements released by King and Young on yesterday's vote. During last year's campaign, Young suggested that Obamacare was "here to stay" and said he would be "at the table trying to fix" the law if elected to Congress. In yesterday's press release, Young advocated several GOP proposals on health insurance but added that Republicans "must continue to ensure coverage is provided to individuals even if they have preexisting conditions and that young people still struggling in the job market are able to continue to receive coverage under a parent's plan." King's official comments said nothing about preserving any aspects of the current law. He emphasized that he filed the very first Obamacare repeal measure on the day after House members approved the bill in March 2010.
I highly recommend Dana Milbank's entertaining account of the House debate on the latest bill. Excerpts are after the jump, but you should click through to read the whole Washington Post column.
UPDATE: According to Sahil Kapur,
The [Republican] party is divided on whether it should even attempt to craft a contingency health care plan of its own. Illustrating the dispute, Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) tried to propose an amendment that strips out the language calling for "replacement legislation."
Representative David Young press release, February 3:
IOWA CONGRESSMAN DAVID YOUNG VOTES TO MAKE GOVERNMENT MORE ACCOUNTABLE
WASHINGTON, DC - Iowa Congressman David Young released the following statement voting in favor of H.R. 596 - to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
"This law has created more hassles and worries for Iowans. A one-size-fits-all bureaucratic approach does not work in health care, and we have sadly watched this approach hurt good, hard-working Americans. I wish the President wanted to pursue greater choice in health care, not more dependence on government, and strive for a society where we reward hard work and value personal responsibility."
"The simple fact is Obamacare has created more uncertainty for taxpayers of the Third District and across America over what their costs will be and whether they can see their doctor. Americans deserve lower health care costs and better access to providers. We need solutions that focus on the patient, not the government. Allowing patients and doctors to control health care decisions will ultimately lead to better care."
"Allowing Iowans to purchase insurance across state lines, promoting price transparency, and reducing hospital readmissions by improving follow-up care are great places to start in returning control of their health back to Americans. As Republicans we must continue to ensure coverage is provided to individuals even if they have preexisting conditions and that young people still struggling in the job market are able to continue to receive coverage under a parent's plan. These are common sense solutions Congress and the President should be able to agree on."
"Ultimately, Iowans want us to work together, find common ground and provide leadership to achieve measurable results in Washington."
Representative Steve King press release before the February 3 vote (emphasis in original):
King "Full, 100% Repeal ObamaCare Language"
to be Voted on in the House Today
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Steve King released the following statement in response to his full, 100% repeal of ObamaCare language, within H.R. 596, being brought to the United States House Floor for a vote today:
"The first order of business on the morning after ObamaCare passed into law, March 24, 2010, I drafted and then introduced the full, 100% repeal of ObamaCare," said King. "Since then, I have consistently reintroduced the same magic 40 word repeal bill. My repeal language has passed the House several times.
I'm grateful that Speaker Boehner has decided to include my repeal bill, H.R. 132, as the core of H.R. 596 which will be voted on in the House today. Every Member of Congress, House and Senate, deserves a chance to go on record in favor of my full, 100% rip it out by the roots, 'As if such Act had not been enacted,' repeal of ObamaCare."
After the vote, King's office released the video of his speech during House floor debate on the bill:
From Dana Milbank's February 3 column, "With latest Obamacare repeal vote, GOP sets 'record' for futility":
In Tuesday's repeal effort by House Republicans - their first of this Congress and their 56th overall - it became clear that they had succeeded at one thing: They had bored even themselves into a slumber.
For much of the debate Tuesday afternoon, no more than a dozen seats were occupied on the pro-repeal side of the House. More than once, the GOP had nobody available to speak. [...]
Those who did speak didn't necessarily do it well. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) gave a passionate speech in support of . . . his home state. "Texans are a proud people, and we've been a proud people since the days of the Alamo and San Jacinto," he said. "If Texas were its own country, it would have the 13th highest GDP in the world."
Replied [Democratic floor leader Jim] McGovern: "Wonderful commercial for Texas. We all should visit." [...]
Omitted from the debate was any hint of what Republicans would do to replace Obamacare in the highly unlikely event that Obama agreed to sign legislation repealing his signature achievement. To finesse this, the repeal legislation included a bold provision calling for . . . a trio of committees to come up with recommendations. Similar promises during previous repeal efforts produced no such recommendations.