WASHINGTON — The two members of Colorado’s congressional delegation representing the most competitive seats voted Wednesday to repeal President Obama’s health-care law.
Republican representatives Mike Coffman of Lone Tree and Scott Tipton of Cortez both voted “yea” on the House floor yesterday afternoon in support H.R. 6079, a bill to repeal ObamaCare.
While the repeal bill passed 244 to 185, Coffman and Tipton each said that overturning the president’s signature domestic achievement is not enough.
“The objective is not simply to repeal but also to replace the law. I look forward to discussing all aspects of the bill,” Coffman said in an interview Wednesday.
“We hear comments that this is the Affordable Care Act. There is nothing affordable about it. It is a $2 trillion tax increase on the backs of struggling Americans. This is something if we are going to stand up for true health care, we need to make sure we repeal this bill, repeal it now, and replace it with common sense,” Tipton said in a speech on the House floor Tuesday.
Coffman’s and Tipton’s votes had not been in doubt. Each voted in Janaury 2011 to overturn and replace the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act and all 239 House Republicans present yesterday voted to repeal the law.
Yet both face difficult re-election fights, squaring off against experienced Democratic opponent in their swing districts this fall. Their responses Wednesday suggested each sought to stay on message. Tipton did not speak to reporters after his vote, while Coffman’s comment about the need to repeal and replace the law came in response to an unrelated question about a Democratic criticism of the bill.
Their Democratic opponents did not criticize their votes. State representative Sal Pace’s office did not return a phone call about Tipton’s vote, while state representative Joe Miklosi’s office did not respond to a call about Coffman’s.
Underscoring the political difficulty the issue presents for Democratic candidates in some swing districts, Pace responded “I don’t know” when asked by The Denver Post whether or not he would have voted to enact the controversial ObamaCare bill back in 2010.
The other members of the Colorado delegation voted as they did a year ago. Democratic representatives Diana DeGette of Denver, Jared Polis of Boulder, and Ed Perlmutter of Lakewood opposed H.R. 6079. Republican representatives Cory Gardner of Fort Collins and Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs supported it.
Polis criticized the vote Wednesday as “an ideological vote that will go nowhere,” a point few observers dispute given that the Democrat-controlled Senate is unlikely to follow the lead of the Republican-led House.
Republicans hoped that voting again on repealing the health-care law might generate more momentum for their cause. Five House Democrats voted for repeal — two more than last year, but short of the eight to 10 Democrats that one Colorado House Republican expected.
Republicans’ hopes of overtuning the law rest with defeating President Obama this fall and capturing control of the Senate. Polls suggest that opposing the law is advantageous. Both a USA Today/Gallup poll and a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll have found that a bare majority of Americans favor repealing parts or all of the law.
Yet some components of the health-care law, which the Supreme Court upheld on June 28, remain popular.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo) said he “proudly voted” for the health care law, according to the left-wing political blog ColoradoPols.com. He said in his recent travels around the state, citizens have told him they support the law’s provisions that make adults as old as 26 eligible for Medicare and preventing health insurers from denying patients with pre-existing conditions.
“Those problems will be gone under the Affordable Care Act. In addition, families like my own with young adults in them will benefit from the feature that ensures people ages 22-26 will still be able to join their parent’s health insurance plans while getting their careers off the ground.”