Mike Pence visits Kentucky seeking support for health bill

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
March 13, 2017Politics

Vice President Mike Pence is taking the Trump administration’s case for a health care overhaul to Kentucky, where one of the state’s GOP senators has been a leading critic of the White House-backed plan and the governor is unimpressed with the current proposal to replace the Obama-era law.

Pence has been the chief salesman for President Donald Trump’s push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The House is expected to vote on the bill in less than two weeks but faces fierce resistance from critics, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has called the initial draft “Obamacare Lite.”

Several influential conservative groups such as Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth have come out against the plan.

Pence suggested this week that the Trump administration was open to negotiating changes to the bill, saying the House legislation, which was introduced this week and was cleared by two committees, was simply the start of the process.

Conservatives have urged the White House to halt the extra money Obama’s law gives states to expand the federal-state Medicaid program for 70 million low-income people.

The GOP bill would end that additional funding in 2020 except for those already in the program, but conservatives want to accelerate that to 2018 to save money.

In Kentucky, Democrats have praised former Gov. Steve Beshear’s use of the health care law to drive down the state’s uninsured rate and his smooth rollout of Kynect, the state-run exchange, even while Obama struggled with the national release of healthcare.gov.

But Gov. Matt Bevin, Beshear’s successor, has warned that the state cannot afford to pay for its growing Medicaid program, which has cost the state millions more than initially expected and now covers more than 25 percent of the state’s population. He has dismantled Kentucky’s state-based exchange but indicated he would not favor eliminating the federal health insurance exchange.

The event was at the Harshaw Trane facility in the hometown of Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who did not attend due to a scheduling conflict.




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