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 CruzTed CruzBare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate Dem lawmaker: Trump should fire Sessions GOP Senate candidate: concerns about Trump are 'coming to fruition' 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 HellerBare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan | Ads target Heller, Capito over vote | Dem says ObamaCare repeal effort moving US 'toward single-payer' Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan 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 PortmanRob PortmanBare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan | Ads target Heller, Capito over vote | Dem says ObamaCare repeal effort moving US 'toward single-payer' Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan MORE (R) is also undecided.

Senate Republicans from states that expanded Medicaid pressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDems don’t want to help GOP improve repeal bill Bipartisan group of governors call on GOP to reject skinny repeal Dems get CBO scores on what they think skinny bill will look like 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 CollinsDems don’t want to help GOP improve repeal bill Bare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan | Ads target Heller, Capito over vote | Dem says ObamaCare repeal effort moving US 'toward single-payer' MORE (Maine) and Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Tech: Trump touts new Wisconsin electronics plant | Lawmakers to unveil email privacy bill | Facebook funds group fighting election hacks Bare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan | Ads target Heller, Capito over vote | Dem says ObamaCare repeal effort moving US 'toward single-payer' 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.