The latest vote to repeal Obamacare wasn't along party lines

Congressman Collin Peterson
Congressman Collin Peterson was the sole Democrat to vote to repeal Obamacare on Wednesday.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News 2015

It's been reported that Wednesday's vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act was Congress' 62nd such attempt since the bill was enacted.

But there are a couple of other interesting things to note about the vote.

One is that it was the first time both the House and Senate voted for repeal (President Obama has said he'd veto it).

The other is that although the so-called Obamacare tends to be a partisan flashpoint, it wasn't a party-line vote. Three Republicans and a lone Democrat crossed the aisle for their vote.

That sole Democrat was Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, who noted that the vote wasn't for a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He wouldn't have voted for a whole repeal, he said.

Peterson said the fact that he was the lone Democrat is a sign of how politically split Washington is. He defended his vote in an interview with MPR News' Tom Crann on Thursday, and claims that provisions in the bill change Obamacare but don't repeal it. Peterson says Congress should be working to change the legislation to improve it.

"We have now wasted what — three or four years going back and forth on this repealing the whole thing or keeping the whole thing when what we should be doing is working to fix it," he said.

Peterson said he regularly hears complaints from constituents saying they cannot afford health insurance, and said lawmakers should look at ways to bring down the cost of care.

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