Pro-Obamacare protestors outside the Supreme Court, which will be hearing another related case in March. (Will O'Neil/Flickr)

Pro-Obamacare protestors outside the Supreme Court, which will be hearing another related case in March. (Will O’Neil/Flickr)

WASHINGTON—The House Tuesday passed legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, the latest of numerous attempts to dissolve Obamacare, but also the first strike in the 114th Congress where both the House and Senate are under Republican control.

“The last thing the Congress should do is refight old political battles and take a massive step backward by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class,” said the White House in a statement Monday night. The Obama administration says repeal would lead to an increased deficit and loss of insurance coverage for millions of Americans.

Before the 2014 mid-term elections, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that just over half of the American voters it surveyed said they were tired of hearing candidates for Congress talk about the law and nearly two-thirds said they’d prefer their congressman to work on improving the law, not repealing it.

In January, the House voted to change the minimum work week from 30 hours to 40 hours, thus redefining “full-time” and stripping some workers of their Obamacare coverage. Nearly a month later, the Senate has yet to vote on the legislation, which would likely have to overcome a Democratic filibuster. And President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Tuesday’s House bill, which passed 239 to 186, also will go to the Senate, where the Republicans, despite their new majority, don’t have the 60 votes needed to block a Democratic filibuster.

Despite seemingly futile efforts to repeal Obamacare, Republicans may have outside help.  An upcoming Supreme Court case could gut the ACA.  In early March the high court will determine if insurance exchanges are to be set up by states or be federally mandated.

This could actually hurt the GOP, which still has no unified health care reform plan to replace Obamacare. During debate Tuesday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, advocated piecing together a new law after the repeal of the ACA repeal, but he offered no specifics; his GOP colleagues didn’t either.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said, “We need a system that puts the patient first,” calling the ACA an “outdated, top down approach.”

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, said the lack of GOP support for Obamacare is evidence of its flaws. The Republicans argue that the more than 50 repeal and modification attempts prove that the law is not supported broadly.

“Get a life,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., quipped from the House floor, adding “the American people like this law.”

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., referring to the 2012 presidential election, reminded Republicans that Mitt Romney opposed Obamacare, specifically the section in the law relating to coverage for pre-existing conditions. But Obama, the politician most closely associated with the law, won the election by more than 3 percent of the popular vote.

Tuesday’s debate and bill passage served as a reminder that health care reform will be an issue in the 2016 presidential election, but some find it to be wasteful recycling.

Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the repeal attempt a “frivolous resolution” and said her Republican colleagues are merely “baying at the moon.”

Pelosi, mentioning the January Paris attacks, said it is much more important for the House to pass a homeland security funding bill.