Health-Care Repeal: Democratic Test

Photograph by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Iamges

Speaker John Boehner after a meeting of the House Republican Conference where he and other members addressed issues including the efforts to repeal the health care law.

They opposed President Barack Obama’s health-care bill, though once it became law they voted to keep it on the books.

Now, as Republican House leaders take the law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court to a repeal vote,  the 10 Democrats in the House who’ve been on both sides will have to vote again on whether to repeal or save the law that foes call “Obamacare.”

“I could vote to repeal it — it’d probably be easier politically, but it’s not the right thing,” Collin Peterson of Minnesota said. “The public doesn’t want to repeal it, they want it fixed.”

Peterson voted “no” on both the original bill and on repealing it on Jan. 19, 2011. He said he’s leaning toward a “no” vote when the latest version comes up tomorrow.

“I think they could get a significant number of Democrats to fix the problems with the bill, if they’d quit playing politics with the bill,” Peterson said. “What they’re doing, they’re gonna get nothing done.”

Other members of the president’s party also went on record against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which extends health insurance to millions of Americans lacking coverage and requires most to obtain insurance or pay a penalty, that they didn’t want in the first place.

Rachael Heisler, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania’s Jason Altmire, said “he’s staying consistent with his record,” and would vote for a second time against repeal.

Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts will also vote no, spokeswoman Meaghan Maher said in an e-mail.

“While the Affordable Care Act has numerous and serious flaws and fails to reduce health care costs, he believes that we should begin the task of trying to fix those flaws,” she wrote. “Congressman Lynch does not support the Republican effort to go back to the old broken system.”

Dan Lipinski of Illinois said he considered voting to repeal and now was leaning against it. “What we really need is a repeal and replace, and right now we don’t have a replace,” he said.

That leaves five Democrats who voted against the law and voted against repeal yet haven’t said how they’ll handle the repeal vote this time around: John Barrow of Georgia, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Jim Matheson of Utah and Heath Shuler of North Carolina. Their offices didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Three more of the 34 House Democrats who opposed Obama’s health care legislation in 2010 are still in Congress: Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Mike Ross of Arkansas.

All three voted with the Republicans on the 2011 repeal effort. McIntyre has said he’ll vote for repeal again.

Boren and Ross didn’t respond to two requests for comment off the House floor or two e-mails and a phone message left with their spokespeople. Both men aren’t seeking reelection.

One Democrat who voted against the president’s position on March 21, 2010, then supported it in 2011 says he’ll be against Obama’s stance in the next vote.

Larry Kissell of North Carolina, who voted against H.R. 2, told the Charlotte Observer on July 2 that he’ll vote to repeal after hearing from “hundreds and hundreds of people” in his district who oppose the law.

From Bloomberg Government’s Congress Tracker
Tim Homan contributed to this post

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