John Boehner calls Obamacare the "law of the land"


U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) speaks at a news conference on the debt limit impasse at the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2011 in Washington, DC.


Win McNamee

One of the fiercest critics of President Obama's health care law has backed down in the fight to repeal it. 

Republican House Speaker John Boehner told ABC's Diane Sawyer on Thursday that "Obamacare is the law of the land" and that it would no longer be his mission to repeal it. 

"Well, I think the election changes that," Boehner said. "It's pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare is the law of the land. I think there are parts of the healthcare law that are gonna be very difficult to implement. And very expensive. And as the time when we're tryin' to find a way to create a path toward a balanced budget everything has to be on the table."

Boehner continued, "There certainly may be parts of it that we believe-- need to be changed. We may do that. No decisions at this point."

The slight softening of his push to end the health care law is significant after how much time House Republicans, under Boehner's leadership, have invested in trying to repeal the 2009-2010 Affordable Care Act 

Boehner has made it a personal mission to remove the law in its entirety. But shortly after his comments aired on ABC, Boehner's team set out to clarify the speaker's position. 

A spokesman for Boehner sent a statement about the speaker's comments to NBC News.

"While ObamaCare is the law of the land, it is costing us jobs and threatening our health care," said Kevin Smith, the speaker's communications director.

"Speaker Boehner and House Republicans remain committed to repealing the law, and he said in the interview it would be on the table."

Obamacare, or The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was the biggest overhaul of the $2.8 trillion US healthcare system since the 1960s, reports Reuters.

The law extends health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans beginning in January 2014 by through a mixture of subsidies, state insurance exchanges, expanded Medicare and individual mandates requiring most people to carry insurance.

The law was challenged in the US Supreme Court but the justices upheld the majority of the reforms in a landmark ruling in June.