In the months since, the GOP has taken repeated further swipes at the law, including votes to deny salaries to any government officials who enforce it, to abolish a board of officials charged with holding down Medicare costs in the future and to repeal a tax on medical devices.
With the exception of a few relatively modest changes accepted by the White House, all the rest have died in the Senate.
Some Democrats sought something of a middle ground.
Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., elected to his seat a few weeks ago, said the GOP-inspired repeal legislation was a charade and showed the House “cares more about political grandstanding than in getting things done.” At the same time, he said, “We must work to improve the legislation,” a bow to those who are less than enthusiastic about it, and a point he made during his recent campaign.
The five Democrats who sided with Republicans in the house vote were Reps. Larry Kissel and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike Ross of Arkansas and Dan Boren of Oklahoma.
All five voted against the law’s passage in 2010. Boren, Ross and McIntyre voted to repeal the law in January 2011, while Matheson and Kissel voted then to keep it in place.
Boehner said Republicans wanted to give Democrats who had previously voted to sustain the law a chance to reconsider, contending that “most Americans not only oppose this health care law — they support fully repealing it.”
Public reaction to the law has been consistently negative, but apart from conservative Republicans, it is less clear what support exists for repeal.
In a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month, 47 percent of those surveyed said they opposed the law, 47 percent said they supported it and 6 percent expressed no opinion.
Among those who said they were opposed or had no opinion, 33 percent said they wanted it all repealed, 30 percent said they wanted parts repealed and 34 percent said they wanted to wait and see what happens without repeal.
Associated Press Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP writers Alan Fram and Donna Cassata contributed to this story.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.