VALLEY FORGE, Pennsylvania — Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence spoke here along with his running mate Donald Trump to explain their plan for repealing and replacing ObamaCare.
Pence’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you for that introduction. It is great to be here with Dr. Ben Carson and so many of my former colleagues from the Congress, Sen. John Barrasso, Rep. Tom Price, Rep. Andy Harris, Rep. Mike Burgess, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Rep. Renee Ellmers and Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is wonderful to be back in Pennsylvania, just outside of Valley Forge, a turning point in the Revolutionary War, where Americans showed the resilience and determination to launch this experiment for freedom.
I appreciated Dr. Carson’s introduction, but as he well knows I prefer an introduction that is a little shorter. I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republicans, in that order.
It is really amazing to think that a little more than three months ago, with my wife at my side, that I accepted my party’s nomination to run – and serve – as the next Vice President of the United States of America.
Now it’s just seven days away. I have to tell you I joined this campaign in a heartbeat, because you have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down. He is a fighter, he is a winner, and until very recently it seemed like he was fighting all on his own but now this movement is coming together, Pennsylvania is coming together and we are going to make Donald Trump the next President of the United States of America.
And Donald Trump laid out his Contract with the American Voter short time ago. Working with Congress, we are going to get this economy growing again and create 25 million new jobs by reducing and simplifying our tax system, reforming our trade policies and reducing the regulatory burden. We are going to end the war on American energy, and we are going to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. We are going to bring choice to our education system so that every child in America receives a great education. We will secure our border and end illegal immigration. We will rebuild our military and take care of our veterans, and we will bring law and order back to our communities struggling with crime, drugs and violence.
And most importantly we are going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
I am humbled that Donald Trump has asked me to address this issue and speak to you about it.
Some of you may know, before becoming Governor of the State of Indiana, I spent twelve years in Washington representing the Sixth District of Indiana in the House of Representatives.
In 2009 and 2010, I was Chairman of the House Republican Conference, leading the fight with my fellow Republicans against Obamacare. I said then, and it has proven true, that when you mandate every American have a government-approved insurance whether they want it or need it, and when you create a government-run plan paid for with job-killing tax increases, that’s a government takeover of health care. And that’s the reason that not a single House or Senate Republican voted for Obamacare.
Since 2010, Republicans have united in our desire to replace Obamacare with free market health care solutions that work for the American people. Good things happen when Republicans stand united.
As Republicans head to the voting booth in one week, the momentum is with the Trump-Pence ticket. We are actually leading in the ABC/Washington Post poll that came out this morning.
Independents and Democrats are joining this movement and Republicans across the country are continuing to come home. Across the spectrum, Americans know that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced, and that only by electing Donald Trump as the next President of the United States will we get it done.
Today open enrollment begins on the Exchange, and once again millions of Americans are going to be disappointed in their lack of options and shocked by the high premiums.
This government takeover of health care that we call Obamacare is failing in states across America, as it is in Pennsylvania, and the case has never been stronger for its repeal. It’s important to remember, as Hillary Clinton boasted a little bit earlier this year, and I’m quoting, “before it was called Obamacare, it was called Hillarycare.”
Do you remember the promises that President Obama and Hillary Clinton made?
•President Obama said his health plan would cut the cost of family premiums by up to $2,500 a year. , Not true.
•If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Not true.
•If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it. Not true.
The truth is premiums for employer plans have gone up by almost $5,000 since President Obama took office. And last week the Obama administration announced that the average premiums under Obamacare on the Exchanges are going to go up another 25% nationally.
But that average hides the specific states where families are about to be pummeled with unprecedented sticker shock: for a 27 year-old buying an Obamacare plan, Arizona’s premiums are going up by: 116%, Tennessee- 63%, Minnesota: 59%, Alabama: 58%, North Carolina: 40%. American wages haven’t gone up by this much. Right here in Pennsylvania, it’s a whopping 53% for next year, and a total of 69% increase when you add it to last year’s rate hike. Your paycheck didn’t go up by 53%!
In Pennsylvania almost 110,000 households will see their rates spike drastically with absolutely no help from the government.
Remember how Nancy Pelosi famously said “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” Well, they did, and it’s even worse than we feared. What good is a healthcare plan if you can’t afford to use it? With its increasing costs and high deductibles, most people are paying for something they can’t afford to use. Fifty percent of Obamacare customers are now skipping medical visits to cut costs. Think about that, Americans are putting their personal health second because Obamacare’s skyrocketing costs come first.
Obamacare truly is a crushing weight on the American people and the American economy.
I mean, even Bill Clinton said “costs are going up, coverage is going down, it’s the craziest thing in the world.” I guess even with the Clintons, sometimes the truth happens.
But don’t be deceived by Bill Clinton’s newfound skepticism, Hillary Clinton’s plan is actually to introduce what we call ‘single payer’ into the system, government run health insurance.
She actually went to Canada and gave a speech and she told these Canadians and business groups that she wanted to get “universal health care coverage like you have here in Canada.” Of course, we all know they’ve got socialized medicine in Canada.
But my favorite quote came from President Obama himself. It was a week or so ago, and he was celebrating the third anniversary of the roll out of Obamacare. In his speech he actually compared Obamacare to the Samsung Galaxy 7 phones that spontaneously burst into flames. Here’s the quote: President Obama said “when one of these companies comes out with a new smartphone that has a few bugs, what do they do? They fix it, they upgrade it, unless it catches fire then they pull it off the market.” Well, what a coincidence, Mr. President, because that’s exactly what we’re going to do with Obamacare! We’re going to pull it off the market so it stops burning up our wallets.
Almost 20% of Americans eligible for Obamacare will have only one Exchange insurer this year. One plan is not a choice, it’s a monopoly. At least 1.4 million Americans are about to lose their plan in 2017, and that’s after millions already lost their plans in the first years of Obamacare. This means that too many people won’t be able to continue seeing their doctor, which will interrupt treatment and care.
Part of the reason costs went up is because Obamacare dictates that Americans buy a government designed insurance plan… laden with expensive and unnecessary benefits.
No wonder that the young and healthy don’t want to buy the plans. The coverage is expensive and the plans have huge deductibles that people can’t afford. The average deductible for the so-called “cheapest” category of family plans this year is almost $12,000. That’s more than 1/5th of the median household income in the U.S. What worse is that many of our best doctors have opted out of seeing patients with Exchange coverage.
And Obamacare is killing jobs and it is destroying small businesses across America. Obamacare’s employer mandates and new taxes have been destructive to the economy by killing jobs and reducing wages and growth. Obamacare imposed more than $1 trillion in new taxes on providers, taxpayers and businesses to pay for its failed policies. It has reduced pay for workers in small businesses and reduced employment by more than 350,000 jobs nationwide. Obamacare’s employer mandate raised the minimum cost of hiring a full-time worker to $10.30/hour for larger employers, without increasing take-home pay for workers. State and local officials have conceded that Obamacare forced municipal governments to cut hours of part-time employees.
It is time to end this government takeover of health care and start over with American solutions.
For all of these reasons and so many more, Donald Trump and I are going to repeal Obamacare lock, stock and barrel.
And when Donald Trump becomes President, we’re going to replace Obamacare with healthcare reform that lowers the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government.
We’re going to reform health insurance in America with the power of the free market – that’s the American way to meet our healthcare needs in an American future.
A Trump plan will make health care affordable and will put people back in the driver’s seat of their health care, not the government. We will get rid of the individual mandate, because the government shouldn’t tell you how to spend your money. We will allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, just like you can with your auto or life or other insurance policies. We will create a transition period for those receiving subsidies to ensure that Americans don’t face disruption or other hardship in their coverage.
We will make it easier for Americans to open Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that they can use to pay for health insurance. The idea of a tax-free account to pay for medical expenses was pioneered in my home state of Indiana to fix the flaws in our health care system.
Health Savings Accounts allow you to control your health care dollars, pick the doctors and treatments that work for you without interference from insurance or government bureaucrats. Instead of giving subsidies to big insurance companies, the way Obamacare does, we will provide assistance directly to the American people through their Health Savings Accounts.
There’s an old saying that when everybody in your family is healthy, you have lots of problems. When one person in your family is sick, you have one problem. With a Health Savings Account, people can pick the insurance plan that works best for them and their family and gives them piece of mind if they get sick or have a major medical problem.
Medicaid started in 1965 as health insurance program for the poor. Fifty years later Medicaid is broke and failing. And Obamacare has put the majority of the new people receiving coverage into this broken Medicaid program.
In Indiana, we said, “thanks, but no thanks” and fought for almost two years to make coverage more widely available the right way, with the consumer-driven approach and Health Savings Accounts. We call it the Healthy Indiana Plan.
Donald Trump and I will work with Republican majorities in the House and Senate to free states from Washington’s top-down approach to Medicaid. States know what’s best for their people and Donald Trump and I will give states new freedom and flexibility through block granting Medicaid so states can innovate and reform and design programs that meet the unique needs of their citizens.
And health care costs will also come down when people have more control and know more about what their health care costs. As we empower Americans with greater control over their healthcare choices, we will also empower them with more information about the cost and quality of care in their hometown.
Today, people have very little transparency into the cost or quality of their care. It’s easier to compare prices when you buy a car or TV than it is to find information about a hospital or doctor. Donald Trump will fix that.
When Americans can see the cost of their care, and have the power to make their own choices, the healthcare industry will give us lower costs and more options. Health care providers will be more responsive to patients’ needs than they are to insurance and government bureaucrats.
And we will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions so that they are not charged more or denied coverage, just because they have been sick, so long as they have paid their premiums consistently.
And we will reverse Obamacare’s federal takeover of the insurance market. We didn’t see the type of rate increases across the nation when the States were running things.
My friends, the choice in this election couldn’t be more clear. With Hillary Clinton we will get more of the same from the last seven and a half years. More taxes, more spending, more regulation and more Obamacare.
We can’t trust Hillary Clinton with our health care anymore than we can trust her with classified information.
Obamacare – the debacle previously known as Hillarycare – was a government takeover of health care from the start, plain and simple. It upended the miracle of the marketplace. Competition was crushed and replaced with the heavy hand of government control.
Obamacare is a catastrophic failure. Hillary Clinton says she wants to double-down on failure.
But we still have time to turn this around. Americans can choose a health care economy built on freedom, consumer choice and free market principles. It’s just going to take all of us to do it.
You know it is remarkable to me, as I show up to Donald Trump’s rallies with tens of thousands of people there, what Donald Trump always says to me as we roll into those big rallies, he always tells me it’s not about me or our party. It’s about this movement of the American people, and the American people are going to Make America Great Again.
To those Republicans who believe we can have a health care system built on a free market economy and consumer choice, we need to say with one voice, it is time to come home.
It is time to come home and elect Donald Trump the next President of the United States.
It is time to come home and reelect Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
And it is time to come home to bring their 30-year obsession with government-run health care to an end by ensuring that Hillary Clinton will never be elected President of the United States.
Ladies and gentlemen, with one week to go for a great victory for the American people, I give you the man with the vision, the agenda and the leadership to restore freedom to our health care economy, and Make America Great Again, the next President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Trump then took the stage and spoke of more plans for a Trump-Pence administration.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana