House passes health care repeal, again

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US Capitol, US Flag and Stethoscope
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(CBS News) The Republican-led effort to repeal President Obama's health care law passed the House of Representatives Wednesday, successfully setting up campaign talking points for the coming months, but accomplishing little else.

The vote was the 33rd time the House has voted to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, but Wednesday's vote was the first House action to repeal since the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law nearly two weeks ago.

With the reality that it will also be the 33rd time that the measure will fail to be passed by the Democratic-led Senate, Wednesday's action ultimately winds up being only political in nature, giving Republicans material for their political races to tell voters that they are committed to sinking the health care overhaul.

We are voting "so we may all be on record in order to show that the house rejects 'Obamacare,' and we are committed to taking this flawed law off the books," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., sad on the House floor.

The vote, 244 - 185, was largely along party lines but five Democrats sided with the entire Republican caucus.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said health care repeal effort shows why people "loathe" politics.

Two Democrats who supported the repeal, Reps. Dan Boren of Oklahoma and Mike Ross of Arkansas are retiring. Three other Democrats, Reps. Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre, both of N.C., and Jim Matheson of Utah, exemplify the ramifications of supporting the contentious law in competitive districts; each are facing difficult reelections.  In 2010, all five voted against passage of the Affordable Care Act.

House Democratic leaders, bolstered by the Supreme Court's decision last month, called the vote pure politics.

This is a "useless bill to nowhere that does serious damage to the health and well being of American families," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney added the vote is what people "loathe about politics and Washington."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House voted because Americans "certainly didn't ask for a government takeover" of health care. "There is a better way. Americans want a step by step approach," he said on the House floor prior to the vote.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has repeatedly promised to "repeal and replace" the law if elected.

Since the Supreme Court upheld the law last month, the president has touted the ruling on the campaign trail. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Tuesday, the president said he will "work with anybody to improve the health care law where we can, but this law is here to stay."

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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