Republicans are expected to make good on their campaign promise by attempting to repeal the historic health care reform bill that expanded coverage to millions of Americans and added benefits for many, including young adults and seniors.

It's a symbolic vote, because even if it clears the House as expected, it has little or no chance of winning approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and even if it did it wouldn't survive a presidential veto.

Just as well, considering a new poll shows only one in four people now support a repeal, a move the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says would add $230 billion to the federal deficit by 2021.

But the Republicans are going to go through the motions anyway, reality be damned.

There was hope last week, after the shootings in Arizona that some blamed on the toxic political atmosphere, that lawmakers would put aside such divisive tactics and find a way to work together for the good of everyone.

Instead, all that happened was a week delay. Debate was expected to begin today, with an up or down vote Wednesday.

It was unfortunate, because it was a chance for the Republicans to show the needs of the people are more important than a symbolic finger to the president.

Last year's health care reform law is far from perfect, and there is plenty of room for improvement, namely measures that would actually rein in the skyrocketing costs of insurance -- a point on which even some Democrats agree.

Lawmakers from both sides could have stood united, acknowledging the good in the law and pledging to work together to improve it and fine tune it.

It could have been the beginning of a new era of cooperation, the reset in relations that some hoped for after last week's tragedy.

But no. Before any real work is even attempted, the Republicans are dead set on driving the wedge even further with their pointless move.