On Wednesday January 6, the House of Representatives voted predominantly along party lines, 240 to 181, to pass the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3762), which would repeal portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) and defund Planned Parenthood. Three Republicans voted against the bill and one Democrat for the bill.
The Senate passed a substitute amendment to the bill on December 3, 2015, by a vote of 52-47, using the budget reconciliation process to prevent a filibuster by Senate Democrats. The Senate amendment built upon a reconciliation bill passed by the House on October 23, 2015, that repealed the coverage subsidies, tax credits, and Medicaid expansion provisions, effective in 2018. The Senate amendment also repealed certain ACA taxes, such as the medical device and health insurance tax, and ended the individual and employer mandate penalties immediately. The Medicare provisions of the ACA would not be affected.
The vote is seen as a mostly symbolic effort by the Republicans to energize its base as President Obama is expected to veto the legislation. The House will likely try to override the veto but it is unlikely that the Senate will attempt to do so. It would take a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to override the expected veto.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stated that his first priority in 2016 was to put an ACA repeal bill on President Obama’s desk. The passage of the bill fulfills this promise.
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