By Thomas Ferraro and Donna Smith
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led House of Representatives headed toward a symbolic and mostly party-line vote on Wednesday to repeal President Barack Obama's overhaul of the healthcare system.
With both sides jockeying for position in the November 6 elections, the House was certain to pass a bill to end the 2-year-old healthcare law. And the Democratic-led Senate was just as certain to reject the bill and allow the law to stand.
The House was set to end two days of often spirited debate by 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) and begin a roll call vote.
Most, if not all, Republicans were expected to back repeal. At least a few Democrats were expected to vote to repeal the law as well, but the vast majority appeared ready to stand with Obama.
The vote will mark at the 33rd time by the Republicans' latest count that the House has passed a bill to defund or repeal portions of the law or the entire Affordable Care Act, as the law is called.
Democratic Representative Jim McDermott mocked Republicans, declaring: "As a psychiatrist, I'm qualified to say this: One definition of insanity is doing the same than over and over again and expecting a different result."
House Speaker John Boehner and fellow Republicans scheduled the vote after a divided U.S. Supreme Court disappointed conservatives last month and upheld the law, which expands coverage and requires most Americans to obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty.
Voter dissatisfaction with the law helped Republicans win the House in the 2010 elections, and they hope it can give them a boost again this year. But Democrats are fighting back, buoyed by the Supreme Court ruling.
The House Democratic campaign committee has begun offering bumper stickers that read: "Dear John Boehner. It's constitutional. Get over it."
But House Republicans remained on the offensive.
"Obamacare's new regulations, taxes and mandates are crushing our already weak economy," said Republican Representative Diane Black.
Public support for the healthcare law, despite some fluctuation, is divided just as it was in 2010. Neither side has made significant lasting headway.
Some recent polling has suggested that the law is of low importance to voters compared to other issues, such as the struggling U.S. economy.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll published Tuesday showed more voters than in the past saying the healthcare law will not be a factor when they cast their vote in November.
Another poll - a Kaiser Family Foundation survey taken after the Supreme Court upheld the law's constitutionality late last month - found that 51 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats said opponents should move on to other issues.
But 69 percent of Republican respondents said they want to see efforts continued to roll back the law.
(Reporting By Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Fred Barbash)
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