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VP Pence: Obamacare Replacement ‘Done by this Spring’

Vice President Mike Pence promised an aggressive schedule for repealing and replacing Obamacare during a Thursday interview on Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier.

“We’re really beginning from a position of consensus of what we need to accomplish, but in an open legislative process we’re working on how to get there,” Pence told Baier after condemning Obamacare and the additional 25 percent premium increases it has caused in the past year alone.

Conservatives in Congress have slammed the House leadership’s bill — led by Speaker Paul Ryan — as Obamacare Lite and not a full repeal. Sen. Tom Cotton said in an interview with Breitbart News that the bill doesn’t deliver on Republican promises to repeal and replace. Cotton called for a pause and a release from “arbitrary legislative deadlines,” with a major focus on keeping promises to make healthcare affordable and accessible. “The legislation they’ve introduced can be a starting point, but it needs major changes,” he said.

Pence told Baier that there is a healthy debate and dialogue. He said the Congress is to consider the bill and amendments to it. “We’re gonna continue to drive to an outcome that’ll serve the best interest of the American people.”

Baier asked Pence how much give there was with regard to conservatives. Pence said they were going to “listen very intently to conservative leaders.” He recalled his time in Congress and said of conservatives in the House and Senate, “These are people that understand the solutions that we can bring to our health care economy.”

Pence stressed:

This is the bill, but if there are ways to improve that bill and give people greater confidence that we’re all gonna arrive at the same place, where Obamacare is done and we’ve replaced it with the kind of healthcare reforms that’ll lower the cost of health insurance by expanding people’s choices and giving states more flexibility, and that’s where we’re headed.

Sen. Rand Paul is part of a push by the House Freedom Caucus to pass a clean repeal followed the same day by a separate replacement bill. Some caucus members have called the House Republican leadership plan dead on arrival in its current form.

The House Republican leadership plan calls for three phases. One involves Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

“I’m very confident we’ll repeal and replace Obamacare and it’ll all be done by this spring,” Pence told Baier.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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