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Pence on OCare Replacement: ‘This Is the Bill, But If There Are Ways to Improve That’ – ‘We’ll ‘Listen Intently’ to Conservatives

On Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” Vice President Mike Pence stated of the Obamacare replacement bill, “I think we’re going to listen intently to conservative leaders. … [W]hat President Trump has said, to our whole team, is continue to engage members. This is the bill, but if there are ways to improve that bill and give people greater confidence that we’re all going to arrive at the same place where Obamacare is done and we’ve replaced it with the kind of healthcare reforms that will lower the cost of health insurance by expanding people’s choices and giving states more flexibility, then that’s where we’re headed.”

Pence said, “[T]he legislation introduced this week in the House begins that process [of repealing and replacing Obamacare]. We’re open and talking about ways we can improve that bill, but that combined with administrative action by the secretary of Health and Human Service,s and ultimately by, likely additional legislation, will get us to a point before we get to the spring this year where Obamacare will be gone, and it will be replaced with the kind of healthcare system that gives the American people more choices in their health insurance and gives states more freedom and more flexibility to provide Medicaid in the best way they see fit for our most vulnerable.”

When asked about objections to the repeal and replace in three phases, Pence responded, “I think they can count on President Trump’s going to be a man of his word. And the president made a commitment to not only repeal Obamacare, but to replace it with the kind of reforms that would allow Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, the way you buy life insurance, the way you buy car insurance, and by giving states the flexibility to implement reforms in Medicaid a little bit like we did in the state of Indiana, where those programs will better serve our most vulnerable citizens.”

He further stated, in response to a question the bill can be changed, “I think we’re going to listen intently to conservative leaders. … [W]hat President Trump has said, to our whole team, is continue to engage members. This is the bill, but if there are ways to improve that bill and give people greater confidence that we’re all going to arrive at the same place where Obamacare is done and we’ve replaced it with the kind of healthcare reforms that will lower the cost of health insurance by expanding people’s choices and giving states more flexibility, then that’s where we’re headed.”

Pence was then asked, “So, eventually it’s going to come down to that binary choice. And you’re going to expend political capital to make sure it gets across the finish line?”

He answered, “President Donald Trump is a man of his word. … [H]e decided, the day after the election Bret, that that number one priority, the first priority of the Congress when they came back, is to keep his word to repeal and replace Obamacare. And we’re going to make sure it happens.”

He concluded, “The central element of the president’s vision for healthcare reform is to expand to a national marketplace, to allow the American people to purchase health insurance across state lines. … The president and I envision an American healthcare economy where people literally have hundreds or even thousands of health insurance products, not ordered by the government, but that they can choose from, and have some assistance from the government through tax credits and other ways to participate.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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