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House Votes To Cut Funds For Key Part Of Health Law

The Republican-led House approved Tuesday another bill aimed at defunding parts of last year's huge health care overhaul, but the measure doesn't stand much of a chance in the Democratic-led Senate.

The bill would eliminate funding available to states to help them create and set up the health marketplaces known as exchanges, where individuals and small businesses will be able to purchase health insurance starting in 2 1/2 years. Under the health care law, the health and human services secretary can grant funds to the states without going through the annual congressional budget process.

The Congressional Budget Office says eliminating the funding would save money — since fewer people would get insurance from the exchanges. But it would also result in the federal government, rather than the states, running many of the exchanges itself.

The vote split mainly along party lines, 238-183.

Like previous efforts by House Republicans to repeal or weaken the health care law, the bill is likely to be ignored by the Democratic-led Senate and would face a presidential veto anyway.

The House this week is also voting on a second bill to eliminate funding in the law to create school-based health clinics.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report

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Julie Rovner is a health policy correspondent for NPR specializing in the politics of health care.Reporting on all aspects of health policy and politics, Rovner covers the White House, Capitol Hill, the Department of Health and Human Services in addition to issues around the country. She served as NPR's lead correspondent covering the passage and implementation of the 2010 health overhaul bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.