Mike Pence promised the White House and Congress would soon power forward with plans to fully repeal and replace Obamacare.
“The American people know better,” Pence told a revved up crowd during a primetime speech at CPAC, the annual gathering of conservatives. “Obamacare must go!”
Pence said the administration would soon advance plans that preserve some of the current healthcare law’s most popular features — such as protections for patients with preexisting conditions — but that added more free market solutions, like the ability to purchase plans across state lines.
And the vice president dismissed recent protests at Republican town halls as manufactured outcry, arguing that the GOP had the right principles behind their policies.
Pence said Republicans’ plan would be in keeping with traditional conservative values: “Something that’s built on freedom and individual responsibility.”
Pence’s address was light on policy specifics, though, and seemed more aimed at galvanizing the conservative supporters who powered Pence — and President Donald Trump — to victory last year. He compared Trump to former President Ronald Reagan and portrayed both as principled conservatives who took those values to the national stage.
Pence called it “a historic victory, all across the United States.”
“Think about it — 30 out of 50 states, including states no Republican had carried in a generation,” Pence said. “President Trump turned the blue wall red!”
Earlier in the day, White House senior strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus jointly addressed the conference. President Trump is set to address activists there tomorrow.
Pence’s emphasis on repealing Obamacare came as one of the healthcare law’s longest standing opponents — former House Speaker John Boehner — more or less declared defeat on the repeal effort earlier in the day.
Speaking at a healthcare conference in Orlando, Boehner said a full repeal and replace was “not what’s going to happen.” Republicans, he said, will “fix Obamacare … They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it,” Boehner said.
Pence, though, expressed no doubts.
“Let me assure you,” he said. “America’s Obamacare nightmare is about to end.”