The shooting in Arizona last weekend has heightened calls for civility in political discourse, but many are questioning whether the polarized political climate will resurface as Republicans prepare to bring the controversial health care repeal bill to the floor.
Health care has become one of the most politically charged topics of recent years, next only to immigration.
From fiery town hall debates -- many of which turned violent -- in late 2009, to the unusual "You Lie" yell from Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., during President Obama's 2010 State of the Union address, health care has divided the nation along firm partisan lines.
Republicans made health care repeal the cornerstone of the new Congress, vowing to hold a symbolic vote even though it has no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate, much less being signed by Obama.
In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, the House GOP leadership postponed the vote that was scheduled to be held on Wednesday, but they will resume discussions on the issue next week.
Republicans say there's no reason to further postpone the debate on an issue they feel propelled them to a majority in the House. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, one of the chief proponents of repealing the law who himself has been criticized by the left for his comments, said if anyone, it will be Democrats who will likely turn up the rhetoric.
"There's no reason for Republicans to turn it up. We're in the majority now," King told ABC News. "For Democrats, defenders of 'Obamacare,' to argue that there will be heated rhetoric and we can't do that because they presume heated rhetoric had something to do with the deranged individual that brought about the tragedy in Tucson, first it's illogical. It's illogical to draw those connections and I for one won't be caught up in that."
The GOP leadership, for their part, emphasized that their focus will be on policy, rather than politics.
"As the White House noted, it is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill next week," Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a statement. "Americans have legitimate concerns about the cost of the new health care law and its effect on the ability to grow jobs in our country. It is our expectation that the debate will continue to focus on those substantive policy differences surrounding the new law."
The topic was front and center at the annual GOP congressional retreat that is being held today through Sunday.
With memories of the Tucson tragedy still fresh, some fear reviving this politically charged topic could be detrimental to the political climate and to Republicans themselves.
Democrats are reportedly urging their GOP counterparts to change the name of the bill, titled "Repealing the Job Killing Health Health Care Law Act." Writing for the Huffington Post, Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Me., said taking out the word "killing" from the title would be "a good place to start a more civil dialoge." But there's little indication from Republicans that will come to fruition.
Experts say the oratory on both sides is likely to stay as fiery as before.
The Tucson shooting "has the effect of postponing the vote for a few days but I can't see that changing the rhetoric at all," said Daniel S. Blumenthal, associate dean for community health at the Morehouse School of Medicine.