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House sends Obamacare repeal bill to White House

Story highlights

  • The House voted to repeal Obamacare and cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood
  • President Obama is expected to veto the bill

Washington (CNN)The GOP-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon passed legislation that would repeal Obamacare, and after more than 60 votes to roll back all or part of the law, the bill dismantle it will finally get to the President's desk.

But it won't stay there long; President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any Republican bill that guts his signature health care law, a five-year-and-counting effort.
    The vote was 240-181, largely along party lines.
    The Senate passed the legislation last month, using a budget mechanism known as "reconciliation" to overcome a Democratic filibuster. House Speaker Paul Ryan has told members he will hold an "enrollment ceremony" Thursday to sign the bill before sending it off to the White House.
    The measure would also bar any federal money for Planned Parenthood, something conservatives in Congress vowed to do after a series of videos released by an anti-abortion group last year triggered a controversy about the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood maintains the footage was edited and denied any improper activity.
    Ryan conceded that the bill wouldn't move beyond Congress, but argued the vote was part of an effort this year to show a contrast with Democrats.
    "The people deserve a truly patient-centered health care system, and ultimately -- ultimately, this is going to require a Republican president. That's why our top priority in 2016 is going to be offering the country a clear choice with a bold pro-growth agenda," Ryan said at a press conference before Wednesday's vote.
    Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell released a statement after the House approved the measure, touting the "unprecedented demand" for coverage under the open enrollment process underway now for 2016.
    "As I travel the country, I consistently hear Americans say that they want Washington to build on the progress we have made to increase access to coverage, drive down the growth of health costs and improve the quality of care. Unfortunately, today's partisan effort in the House of Representatives to repeal key parts of the ACA, along with its effective defunding of Planned Parenthood, does the opposite," Burwell said.
    But House Republicans said voters in their districts complain about the cost of the law.
    "Over and over again, people at home tell us that their insurance has become too expensive to use. Premiums escalated by double digits in a single year, copayments and deductibles have likewise risen. People are learning that simply having an Obamacare insurance card is not the same as actual access to affordable healthcare," Rep Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said.
    One Democrat taunted the GOP for again voting on a measure to roll back the law, but still not having a plan to replace it, reminding them they promised to do so five years ago.
    "You came up with nothing -- nothing! Rep Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, said to House Republicans on the House floor, asking them, "Is it hidden in some secret room in the Capitol? Maybe Donald Trump has it. Perhaps we should alert the Capitol Police or better yet, maybe we should call the FBI to help locate the Republican plan on healthcare."
    Ryan told reporters that the GOP would talk about the details of an alternative health care bill at their retreat in Baltimore next week to plan the rest of the 2016 legislative agenda.
    Rep Ben Ray Lujan, the Chair of the House Democrats' campaign committee, argued the vote would hurt the GOP with key groups in the election this fall.
    "It's 2016 and House Republicans are still tightly bound to their old, failed playbook, which not only puts the health of millions of Americans at risk, but also threatens Republicans' standing with women, Latinos and other important groups of voters this election year."