Although the outcome isn't in doubt, the vote provides plenty of election-year fodder, energizing the political base and helping to attract campaign dollars. House Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said a number of Democrats would join Republicans in voting to repeal the law.
In fact, many of the Democrats who backed the overhaul lost their seats in the 2010 elections. Those who are left would be open to charges of flip-flopping if they switch their votes.
The health care law was Obama's signature domestic achievement, but it remains unpopular and divisive among the public according to opinion polls. Democrats argued that erasing the law would eliminate the more popular individual elements — a guarantee on coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions, a requirement allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents' coverage and the reduction of seniors' Medicare prescription drug costs by closing the "doughnut hole" coverage gap.
Republicans insisted they were keeping a promise with Americans to repeal the law.
"This law epitomizes Washington at its very worst: intrusive mandates, higher costs, red tape, unaffordable spending, taxes on employers and families and control of personal health care decisions by boards, bureaus and agencies in Washington," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Aside from the criticism and the calls for "repeal and replace," the GOP did not offer any specific alternative to Obama's law.
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