Pence Concedes AHCA Will Be Amended, Vows ‘We’re Going to Win’
Vice President Mike Pence pushed back on conservative backlash to the House GOP leadership’s health care proposal, saying that President Donald Trump is “absolutely committed to keeping the promise he made to the American people to repeal Obamacare” during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Since House leadership unveiled the American Health Care Act last week, both Democrats and conservative Republicans have hammered the proposal. Prominent conservative lawmakers, in particular, have expressed dismay the bill does not fully repeal some core aspects of Obamacare.
“There’s a lot of things about President Donald Trump that people said would never happen, right? And I’ll tell you, the president is absolutely committed to keeping the promise he made to the American people to repeal Obamacare,” Pence said.
The vice president also disagreed with critiques the plan leaves much of the Affordable Care Act intact.
“This first bill will basically take the worst elements of Obamacare out — the tax increases, the penalties. I mean, it essentially takes away the core of Obamacare, which is the ability to force people to buy health insurance or pay a tax if they don’t,” Pence added.
LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham noted the Congressional Budget Office’s report issued Monday, which predicted the Republican proposal would leave 24 million more Americans uninsured by 2026 and 14 million uninsured by next year. In response, Pence insisted the CBO score distracted from the failures of Obamacare.
“Well, I certainly understand why they want to change the subject from Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, as you just said. It is collapsing,” Pence said. “And I have to tell you that while there is so much focus on the CBO score … the very suggestion that enrollment … under Obamacare is going to remain the same where it is ignores the fact that insurance companies around the country are literally fleeing from these health care exchanges. Obamacare is a collapsing building of failed public policy.”
To respond to the health care crisis, Pence said the president has called upon Congress to initiate a “multi-step process” to “repeal Obamacare in its entirety” while replacing it with health policies “that give the American people more choices, that allow the free market to work, that allow states to innovate and reform Medicaid in ways that will serve people’s needs more effectively and more efficiently.”
“And we are going to continue to drive that policy forward — even as we amend the bill,” Pence said, signaling Republican leadership’s willingness to listen to conservatives’ concerns.
When Ingraham raised serious concerns voiced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) about the “mythical” Phase 3 of the multi-step process, Pence said both he and the president are willing to engage with critics of the bill to allay their concerns.
“That’s a fight the president is willing to take all across this country, including to Sen. Cotton’s state. And I’m going to be there right with him shoulder-to-shoulder and we’re going to win that argument,” Pence, who noted he will have coffee with the Arkansas senator later in the day, said.
Although the vice president admitted that Trump “wanted to do repeal and replace at the same time,” Pence said the president is pleased with the House GOP leadership’s proposal.
“The president said, ‘But look — let’s do everything that we can do in this budget bill that only requires 51 votes.’ And we’re doing a broad range of things,” Pence said. “The president is anxious to go out and fight for the balance of this repeal and replace plan … But let’s do what we can to pull this failed policy off the backs of American families.”
Ultimately, Pence said the president fully believes the bill will accomplish everything the Republicans have promised regarding health care reform.
"[Trump] is an optimist. He's a man who believes in this country," Pence said. "What President Trump believes in is if you unleash the power of the marketplace, if you give Americans more choices and create a competitive environment you'll see costs come down, Americans will buy health insurance that they want — not that the government dictates — and it will give the states more freedom to reform Medicaid in ways that will truly better serve the needs of our most vulnerable."
"The answer in the 21st century to our health care needs is the American solution of more choices, more free market," Pence added. "I mean, you give the American people the ability to buy health insurance across state lines, you give states the ability to reform Medicaid, you create these laboratories of democracy and innovation. That's how we've always solved conflicts, problems, in this history of this country. And that's how we'll chart a health care future under President Donald Trump that the American people can afford and that leads to a better quality of life and health care for everyone."Payl Ryan, American Healthcare Act, Rename nd Renege, RyanOCare