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House Republicans repeal Obamacare again. Why do they keep doing it?

House Republicans repealed Obamacare for the fourth time Thursday, and like their other efforts, it will go nowhere in the Senate. Yet for the party's base, it's hardly a pointless vote.

By Staff writer / May 16, 2013

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky points to a 7-foot stack of 'Obamacare' regulations to underscore his disdain for the law during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., in March.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/File

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Washington

House Republicans booked yet another chapter of their drive to repeal President Obama’s signature health-care law on Thursday night, ramming their fourth complete repeal and 37th elimination of some portion of the law through the chamber on a 229-to-195 vote.

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Two Democrats joined Republicans in voting for a measure that represents a cornerstone of the Republican attack on Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats in the election cycle to come. 

While the scandals currently roiling Washington – from the IRS’s overreach to the Department of Justice’s seizing of Associated Press phone records to a lack of clarity over the Obama administration’s response to the terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya – don’t seem to have a common theme, Republicans see a unifying thread: government overreach.

Republicans argue, in effect, this is what happens when you put your faith in big government. And at the bedrock of that critique, the purest form of this governmental overreach in the minds of many conservatives, is Obama’s signature health-care law.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida put it just so on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

“This same IRS [who targeted conservative groups for more scrutiny] will now have unfettered power to come after every American and ensure that either you’re buying insurance or you’re paying them a tax. Every American business. The front lines of enforcing Obamacare falls to the IRS. That is what happens when you expand the scope and power of government,” Senator Rubio said.

“It’s always sold as a noble concept. It’s always offered up by government as, ‘We’re going to give the government more power so they can do good things for us.’ But the history of mankind proves that every time a government gets too much power, it almost always ends up using it in destructive ways against the personal liberties of individuals,” he continued.

The health-care law is such a fundamental piece of the Republican political playbook because it has enormous implications for the lives of ordinary Americans – and thus weighty political implications.

Republicans have argued for a long, long time that excluding a handful of popular provisions in the health-care law, the implementation of the bulk of the law regarding insurance exchanges in late 2013 and 2014 will be a disaster. That’s because, they argue, the law is too complex and dysfunctional to be well-implemented, Republicans argue, and will drive up insurance costs with little accompanying benefit.

“Ultimately, that’s the meaning of the vote being taken by the House of Representatives on Thursday,” said Joe Trauger, a vice president at the National Association of Manufacturers, in an e-mailed statement. “It is a vote of no-confidence.”

Americans tend to agree that the law will drive up premiums, according to a recent survey by TIPP/The Christian Science Monitor. Some 61 percent say that premiums will increase significantly versus 7 percent who think they will stay the same and 25 percent who think premiums will drop significantly.

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