As its opening move in the newly convened Congress, the House voted Wednesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the 62nd such vote but the first time that a bill will make it to President Obama’s desk, forcing a rare veto to protect his signature domestic achievement.
The measure passed easily, 240 to 181.
While Democrats dismissed the bill — which would also remove funding for Planned Parenthood — as another ploy in the partisan drama that has played out in the Capitol since the law was enacted in 2010, the vote proved that a Republican congressional majority could deliver a measure that repeals the health law to a Republican president, even in the face of united opposition from Democrats.
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) January 7, 2016
It also shows that nearly six years after its enactment, the law remains a divisive political issue not only because it is associated with Mr. Obama, but also because for much of the middle class, it is at least perceived as costly and lessening consumer choice, polls show.
“This is a big deal,” said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington and a former longtime Republican staff member on the Senate Budget Committee. “This vote sends the signal to the president and the American people there are changes that need to be made in this law.”
Even among Republicans, Mr. Hoagland said, “there is a recognition that you may not do away with a number of the provisions that are popular.” But, he added, “if you can push away the politics of it, you will find there are a number of provisions that Democrats would agree could be changed,” no matter who is president.