US President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation that would repeal major portions of his signature domestic achievement: the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The bill would also defund the reproductive health organization Planned Parenthood.
«Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto,» Obama said in a veto statement.
The statement continued: «The Affordable Care Act includes a set of fairer rules and strong consumer protections that have made healthcare more affordable.»
The legislation would have dismantled the health law’s key pillars, including requirements that most people obtain coverage and that larger employers offer it to workers.
It also sought to end the roughly $450 million in yearly federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which amounts to a third of its budget.
‘Path’ to repeal
The bill was widely seen as a test of the Republican lawmakers’ ability to get it passed through Congress ahead of U.S. elections later this year when the presidency, all House seats and one third of the Senate will be up for grabs.
«We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate,» said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a video response.
«So, next year, if we’re sending this bill to a Republican president it will get signed into law. Obamacare will be gone.»
Obamacare has been a lightning rod for fierce partisanship since its inception. A 2013 Republican attempt to defund the law shut down the U.S. government for more than two weeks.
The White House says that more than 17 million Americans are now insured as a result of the Affordable Care Act and that the number of uninsured Americans is at its lowest level ever.