Republican-led House votes to repeal health law


The vote Wednesday was 244-185. According to the Republican count, this was the 33rd time that the tea party-infused GOP majority has tried to repeal or undercut the Affordable Care Act since it was signed in March 2010.

Its efforts have died every time the Democratic-controlled senate, as it did this time around as well. However, the GOP had a fresh argument courtesy of the Supreme Court.

Two weeks ago, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion that the law was constitutional because it imposes a tax - not a penalty - on people who refuse to buy insurance. Republicans who repeatedly pressed for repeal said a "yes" vote would not only overturn the law but spare some 20 million Americans from an unnecessary tax.

Republicans say that the law's onerous burdens and taxes are stifling small businesses now reluctant to hire because of the additional expenses.

Under the law, Americans who don't get qualified health insurance will be required to pay the penalty - or tax - starting for the 2014 tax year, unless they are exempt because of low income, religious beliefs or because they are members of American Indian tribes. The penalty will be fully phased in by 2016, when it will be $695 for each uninsured adult or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater, up to $12,500.

The health care law was Mr. Obama's signature domestic achievement, but it remains unpopular and divisive among the public according to opinion polls.

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