WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vice President Mike Pence declared to a room full of Maverick PAC conference attendees on Saturday night that a vote on the Senate health care bill could come as early as next week and that Congress and the Trump Administration are close to seeing the start of the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
“We’re on the verge of a historic accomplishment here in our nation’s Capitol,” Pence told the crowd. “because in the coming days President Trump, working with the congress that you helped elect, is going to keep our promise to the American people and we are going to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Pence pointed to a new version of the Senate health care bill. He declared President Donald Trump’s and his own strong support for the legislation and urged “every member of the Senate to support it.”
The Senate health care bill has faced serious criticism and, as of this week, still appeared to lack the votes necessary to pass the bill. On Saturday night Pence declared that it is the “right bill at the right time to begin to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
The new version of the bill is said to include Sen. Ted Cruz’s “consumer choice” amendment; however, Sen. Mike Lee has challenged this.
In an interview with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh this week, Pence endorsed the consumer choice amendment but added that if the Senate does not pass their bill, they should pass a straight repeal of Obamacare. Pence told Limbaugh’s audience that the President has been clear on this issue and that lawmakers could go back and take time to “craft replacement legislation in a way that’s orderly and allows states to adjust to different changes in Medicaid over maybe a three or four-year window that allows the insurance markets to evolve.”
At one point in Saturday night’s speech, Pence thanked his friend Sen. Ted Cruz for his part in founding Maverick PAC.
The Vice President went on to say:
President Trump and I are confident, when the time comes as early as next week, that Republicans in the Senate are going to come together and they’re going to move this bill forward and we will see the beginning of the end of the nightmare of Obamacare.
All that people need to know about Obamacare, according to Pence, is that “Premiums are soaring and choices are plummeting.”
Pence highlighted statistical data that the Trump Administration has released on premiums that have more than doubled on average and in some cases have tripled — increases in the thousands. This is in spite of promises from the Obama Administration that premiums would go down. Insurers also continue to exit the Obamacare exchange market. leaving 40 percent of counties, even nine whole states, in the U.S. with one insurer and dozens of counties with zero insurance providers.
“Behind these numbers, we’re talking about people, we’re talking about our neighbors and friends,” said the Vice President as he drew attention to the many Americans he has been meeting with who have suffered under Obamacare. These “heartbreaking” stories “are not the exception, they are the rule,” said Pence.
He said the current Senate health care bill repeals Obamacare’s individual and business mandates, cuts taxes on American families and businesses, doubles contribution limits for health savings accounts, ensures coverage for pre-existing conditions, offers tax credits to assist Americans in buying health insurance and allows states more flexibility to reform Medicaid.
“We’ve never been closer in the last seven years to keeping the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Pence. “I am calling on each and every one of you to lean into this debate.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana