- The Washington Times
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence told an audience in Florida Saturday that the White House is “working around the clock” with Republican lawmakers to pass an administration-backed health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare ahead of a House vote next week.

“Every day, more and more members of Congress are getting on board,” Mr. Pence said during a visit to a paper company in Jacksonville. “We’re counting on Florida. We need every Republican in Florida to support this bill and support the president’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.”


Two House lawmakers from Florida, Republican Reps. Ron DeSantis and Bill Posey, are members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus that has been mostly opposed to the new legislation. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, has also expressed reservations about the bill.

Republican House leaders are preparing to bring up the health-care legislation for a floor vote on Thursday after the administration agreed to amendments that would make changes to Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor. The changes would give states the option to impose work requirements on able-bodied people who get Medicaid, and allow governors to accept a block grant of federal funding for the program instead of a per-capita allotment.

A dozen conservative House lawmakers from the Republican Study Committee gave their commitments Friday to President Trump to vote for the bill in light of those changes.

Mr. Pence said the changes are “common-sense solutions added to this legislation in a vigorous debate on Capitol Hill.”

“We’re going to stop any more states from expanding Medicaid and adding a burden to future generations,” Mr. Pence said. “We’re going to give states the option of block grants of Medicaid … so states like Florida can innovate and design Medicaid around the unique needs of the people in this community. And we’re going to allow states like Florida to include a work requirement for able-bodied adults, ensuring that Medicaid’s benefits are available to those who need them most.”

About one in five Floridians are on Medicaid.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the legislation will “help undo the damage that this law has done to patients and families and doctors and businesses.”

“We’re also going to lead the way on letting states run their own health-care programs like Medicaid,” she said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott told the audience that Obamacare has turned out to be “exactly the opposite of what was sold.”

“Barack Obama left office in the nick of time,” Mr. Scott said. “Obamacare’s on a death spiral. Prices have gotten out of control.”


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