Vice President Mike Pence appeared on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program Monday to address the status of the Republican health care bill in Congress, declaring that, “We simply cannot allow the disaster of Obamacare to continue.”
Limbaugh asked Pence about the challenge of passing legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“How in the world can it be this hard when it seemed easy when Obama was in the White House?” Limbaugh asked.
Pence contended that “it has to get done,” adding that Obamacare is “putting a tremendous burden on working families, on small businesses, on the American economy.”
“Every single promise that President Obama made to get Obamacare passed has been broken,” Pence said, later adding, “We’ve seen the cost of health insurance rise in every state across the country, in some cases 200 percent and more.”
Limbaugh challenged Pence to detail the obstacles preventing the passage of healthcare reform, noting that, “We’ve got 52 votes plus yours if necessary, if it comes down to that.”
Pence said that the challenges have to do with “the complexity of this disastrous policy launch,” referring to Obamacare. He claimed that the Republicans’ current heath care legislation “doesn’t do everything that we ultimately want to do. … The president’s committed to ultimately allowing Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, the way they buy life insurance, the way they buy car insurance.”
“Nobody’s talking about that. That’s a great point because nobody is talking about it,” Limbaugh said in response.
Still, the budget rules that the Republicans need follow to pass their legislation with just 51 votes do not allow them to make such a “substantive change in the law,” Pence said.
Despite that shortcoming, Pence said that “in this legislation … we accomplished enormous things,” citing the removal of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty to the government.
“The mandate goes away,” Pence said. “The tax increases go away. Medicaid goes back to the states for the purposes of reform. Health savings accounts are greatly expanded so that people can become consumers in their own health care choices.”
According to Pence, another obstacle impeding the passage of the legislation is the varied opinions of lawmakers.
“Every member of Congress has their own opinion, and this administration — as we did with the House of Representatives — is determined to work with each member to address their needs. But we are very close. If I had one message for your tens of millions of listeners around America, it is: ‘This is the moment; now is the time.’”
Limbaugh and Pence also discussed the possibility of a single-payer health care system.
“Obamacare was designed to implode, in part, so as to further the public’s acclimation for single payer.”
The vice president then referred to former congressman Barney Frank’s answer to a reporter’s question about single-payer health care in 2009.
“They said, ‘How come you’re not supporting single payer?’ He said, ‘Obamacare is the quickest way to get to single payer.’”
Pence also referenced to the “heartbreaking story” of 11-month-old Charlie Guard in England — whose single-payer system will not allow his parents to choose potentially life-saving treatment for him — as an example of what could occur in the United States.
When asked by Limbaugh if he would support a clean repeal of Obamacare with nothing to replace it, Pence replied, “We can’t … We simply cannot allow the disaster of Obamacare to continue. It is hurting families.”
“I believe that — with the strong support of the American people — with this president in the Oval Office, we’re going to get it done. We’re going repeal and replace Obamacare. But the time is now,” Pence said.