The House easily passed a repeal of Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, with a handful of Democrats voting with Republicans against a part of the law aimed at checking the growth of Medicare spending.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board has never been used. It consists of 15 members and was included in the law to control the rate of Medicare growth and to help the program come up with savings. The law said the board would make savings recommendations if Medicare spending was projected to exceed a certain target rate, but so far, spending hasn't grown fast enough to trigger the IPAB.
The 244-154 vote occurred days before an expected Supreme Court ruling on the legality of Obamacare subsidies. Coupled with a vote to repeal the law's medical-device tax last week, the bipartisan IPAB repeal hammers home the message that the Affordable Care Act is broken.
"It's good that people finally know it's there; if nothing else, this will help people know what was another onerous element of Obamacare," said Republican Rep. Trent Franks in an interview.
The Obama administration last week threatened a veto of the legislation, which has 20 Democratic cosponsors. It remains unclear whether Senate Republicans would be able to muster 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.