For the first time in Obamacare’s history, three Republicans voted against a total repeal.
Tuesday’s vote, which resulted in the measure passing 239-186, included Republican dissenters who said that while they didn’t support the Affordable Care Act, they couldn’t support its repeal until something else was ready to replace it. John Kato of New York, Robert Dold of Illinois and Bruce Poliquin of Maine all voted no on the measure.
“Had Congress voted for the full repeal of Obamacare two years ago, families and small businesses would have been able to adjust to the change,” Poliquin said in a statement. “Now, however, more than 60,000 Mainers have invested their time and energy in choosing health care plans that work for their families.
“If Congress fully repeals Obamacare, it must be fully prepared to replace it with a free-market alternative,” he continued. The bill, according to Politico, included “language that would delay repeal for six months to give Republicans an opportunity to offer an alternative package.”
The three dissenting Republican votes against total repeal were sharply criticized by Democrats. “Congressmen Dold and Poliquin appear to be hoping voters will forget their original pandering on health care,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Josh Schwerin said. “As we get closer to Election Day, we will see more and more of these chameleon votes.”
The Obama administration also responded to the vote, maintaining that President Obama would veto any attempt to repeal or roll back the Affordable Care Act.
“In addition to taking away Americans’ health care security, the bill would increase the deficit, [and] remove policies that have helped slow health care cost growth and improve the quality of care patients receive,” the administration said. “The last thing the Congress should do is refight old political battles and take a massive step backward by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class.”
The House has approved a number of measures to repeal parts of Obamacare over the past four years, but Tuesday’s vote was the first since the new Republican-controlled Congress took over.