Defying the odds – and facing President Barack Obama’s veto pen – the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); a move that was DOA in the Senate.
Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, approximately 50 percent of Americans are convinced that the healthcare law has been successfully repealed. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found widespread public confusion about the law, with 22 percent of Americans incorrectly believing it has been repealed and another 26 percent unsure or unwilling to say. Even after extensive media coverage of the repeal effort, only 52 percent of Americans accurately responded that the healthcare law remained intact. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “There remains no consensus about whether to keep, expand, replace or repeal the law. Forty-eight percent are opposed to the law, while 43 percent favor it. Sixty-one percent of those polled oppose Congress cutting off funding of the law in order to block it, as many Republican lawmakers are considering.”
The Republican-sponsored repeal bill, curiously named the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” passed 245 – 189 with assistance from three Democrats. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has refused to bring repeal to the Senate floor for a vote. President Obama has vowed to veto any repeal effort. Republicans have not introduced an alternative bill, although Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said Republicans will ask congressional committees to make “common-sense reforms” to expand coverage and cut costs, but told reporters no “artificial deadlines” were needed.
“As has been true since early in the debate, individual provisions of the new law are more popular than the law itself, complicating the debate over repeal,” the study notes. “So while the public in general is divided over whether to keep or repeal the legislation, if they could pick and choose, the large majority (roughly eight in 10 Americans) would keep the provisions providing tax credits to small businesses, and upward of seven in 10 would keep the provisions that close the Medicare doughnut hole, provide coverage subsidies to those of low and moderate income, institute the new voluntary long-term care insurance program known as the CLASS Act, and prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.”
According to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 32 percent of Americans would like to see the law repealed; 13 percent want to see the bill left as it stands. The poll found that 29 percent of Americans want to see minor changes and that 24 percent want major changes. Representative Ben Chandler, (D-KY), who voted against the law last year, said he voted against repeal because he thinks the law’s “bad” parts should be repealed piece by piece. “I will not vote to repeal parts of the law that protect central Kentuckians by preventing insurance companies from dropping people if they get sick, ending lifetime caps on coverage and eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions,” Chandler said.
Implementation of the law is continuing as planned, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “I want the people who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act — including families, seniors and small business owners — to know that this vote does not change the law and that this department will continue to work every day to implement this vital law.”