Pence pitches governors on ObamaCare repeal bill

Pence pitches governors on ObamaCare repeal bill

Vice President Pence on Friday pitched governors on the Senate's bill repealing and replacing ObamaCare, telling them healthcare faced a "real crisis."

“Yes, President Trump will lead this Congress to rescue the American people from the collapsing promises of ObamaCare,” Pence told the National Governors Association summer meeting in Rhode Island.

"Whatever your politics or your party, you know we’re talking about real people, a real crisis,” he added.

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His comments come as Senate GOP leaders are trying to secure the votes needed to pass a revised healthcare reform bill unveiled Thursday.

Centrist Republicans, in particular many from states that accepted Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare, are pushing back on the legislation. They have cited concerns over stark cuts to the program and an amendment from conservative Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) they worry will raise premiums on the sick and those with preexisting conditions.

Pence, who has been one of the White House's most public advocates for ObamaCare repeal, tried to address concerns over Medicaid.

“President Trump and I believe the Senate bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for our most vulnerable,” he said.

Republican Govs. John Kasich (Ohio), Brian Sandoval (Nevada) and Charlie Baker (Mass.) went as far as joining four Democratic governors, also concerned about the Medicaid cuts, in writing a letter urging a bipartisan approach to healthcare reform in June.

Those Republican governors could be crucial in determining if the bill has enough votes in the Senate.

GOP Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerNevada senators urge airlines to enact new policies after Las Vegas shooting Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (Nev.), seen as the upper chamber's most vulnerable Republican in the 2018 midterm elections, stood next to Sandoval to strongly slam an earlier version of the repeal bill.

Heller is undecided on the revised version.

On Friday, Kasich announced his opposition to the revised bill. Ohio Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Reddit hires first lobbyists Senate panel approves bill compelling researchers to ‘hack’ DHS MORE (R) is also undecided.

Senate Republicans from states that expanded Medicaid pressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-K.Y.) on Thursday for changes.

They proposed altering a formula that indexes Medicaid to inflation so states can receive more federal support.

So far, two Republicans, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (Ky.), have said they will vote against proceeding on the bill next week.

McConnell can't afford to lose support from any other Republicans, and needs 50 votes. All Democrats are expected to vote against the bill, which would allow Pence to break the tie.