WASHINGTON — For the 33rd time, House Republicans passed legislation taking aim at the nation’s new health care law — this time in a largely symbolic vote to repeal it.
In Southern Illinois, response was consistent with previous stances.
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which opponents often refer to as Obamacare, and additional health care related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
“Obamacare, as a whole, is bad for the country,” Shimkus said in a statement. “It raises taxes 21 times costing over $675 billion over ten years. And it’s actually increased the cost of health insurance, not lowered the cost,” Shimkus said. “It takes away an individual’s choice by mandating coverage onto everyone.”
U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, felt differently.
“As I said after the recent Supreme Court decision, the Affordable Care Act has made important improvements to our health care system, and I do not support repeal,” he said in an email. “We should concentrate on implementing the law as efficiently as possible.”
Costello is retiring from Congress at the end his current term.
GOP candidate Jason Plummer, 30, of O’Fallon issued a statement supporting repeal.
“I would vote to repeal Obamacare because I am going to Washington to focus on reducing the cost, improving the quality, and increasing access to healthcare for all Americans,” Plummer said. “The president’s irresponsible legislation did not address any of these serious issues with the healthcare system.”
Democrat nominee William Enyart, 62, of Belleville, saw Wednesday’s vote differently.
“Once again, this Congress is more interested in political games rather than getting our economy back on track and getting people back to work,” he told The Southern. “Right now everyone I talk to wants good jobs and financial security for their families. How does this charade help solve any of those problems?”
The two-day floor debate was orchestrated by GOP leaders to rev up voters before the November election, tapping into the deep divisions that remain over the plan two years after President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement became law.
Americans continue to give the Affordable Care Act mixed reviews, with conservative and independent voters among those most opposed. After the Supreme Court upheld the law in a landmark decision this summer, Republican leaders promised another repeal vote in a strategy that poses some risk for the party as polls show Americans want to move on to other issues.
The House voted 244-185 Wednesday. Five Democrats joined the GOP, more than the three who supported repeal a year ago.
The bill is expected to languish in the Senate. Democrats, who have the majority in that chamber, complained that the vote is a waste of time, as Americans put priority on the economic and employment outlook.
— Lisa Mascaro of the Chicago Tribune’s Washington bureau and Mark Fitton of The Southern Illinoisan contributed to this report.