By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 – After hours of raised voices and wildly contrasting claims about the costs and benefits of the health care reform bill passed last year, the House voted 245 to 189 Wednesday afternoon to repeal the law. In the closing arguments, Republicans pledged to begin hearings immediately on passing new laws to implement the “Obamacare” provisions which have widespread support – such as an end to preexisting condition exclusions, an end to lifetime caps, requiring insurance companies to spend 80 to 85% of premiums on medical costs not company expenses, and requiring companies to keep children covered on their parents' policies until they turn 26.

In contrast, Democrats said that rather than promising “repeal and replace,” the Republicans should simply work with Democrats to improving the existing law. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democrats said the Republicans' approach to repeal first, with no guarantee of replacing, would leave millions of Americans without coverage, a particularly troubling prospect for those who would once again be denied coverage based on preexisting conditions.

Despite the lopsided House vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has indicated he will focus on blocking any repeal efforts in the Senate.

The three Democrats who voted for repeal were Dan Boren, D-Okla., Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., and Mike Ross, D-Ark.

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