Published December 20, 2015
The House voted Friday to delay ObamaCare's individual mandate to buy health insurance for a decade, as part of a bill that would spare doctors from drastic cuts to their Medicare payments at the end of the month.
The vote was 238-181 with nearly all Democrats opposed. Now the bill goes to the Senate, where it's expected to die.
The vote was the latest in dozens of GOP-led efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Democrats have blasted Republicans for attaching the ObamaCare measure to the critical Medicare issue, known as the "doc fix."
If lawmakers are unable to prevent Medicare reimbursement rates from seeing a 24 percent cut, many doctors could start to opt out, threatening the entire Medicare system.
The combination prompted opposition by the American Medical Association. That's despite the group's advocacy for changes in the Medicare payment system.
Despite Democratic opposition to delays in the individual mandate -- the requirement to buy health insurance -- Republicans point out that the administration has already significantly chipped away at that requirement. The administration has created many "hardship exemptions" to let people get out of paying a penalty for not buying insurance if they have trouble getting coverage.
But amid the controversy, President Obama asserted Friday that enrollment in his signature health care program is high enough to make it stable for the millions who have signed up.
"We look forward to seeing more and more people take advantage as some of the politics of the thing get drained away, as people start feeling more confident about the website," the president told WebMD in his latest, less-than-conventional attempt to spread the gospel about the law known by his name.
The Friday House vote is the first attacking the president's health care law since Republicans won an election for a House seat this week in a campaign that featured health care as an issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.