Pence presses Congress to pass healthcare by end of summer

Pence presses Congress to pass healthcare by end of summer

Vice President Pence urged lawmakers on Saturday to pass a healthcare reform measure by the end of summer.

Pence arrived at Sen. Joni Ernst's (R-Iowa) "Roast and Ride" fundraiser in Boone, Iowa riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle before taking the stage and launching into a campaign-style speech reaffirming President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE's key promises.

"Iowa is facing a healthcare crisis under ObamaCare and it's high time we take action," Pence told a crowd at the Central Iowa Expo, about 40 miles north of Des Moines.

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"That's why Congress must come together under the leadership of President Donald Trump and relieve Iowa and relieve America and repeal and replace ObamaCare."

Pence's address came as Iowa's health insurance marketplace waivers on the edge of collapse. Medica, the last major ObamaCare insurer in the state, announced last month that it could pull out of the exchange.

The two other major insurers, Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue, announced this year that would exit the marketplace in 2018.

"We're going to give states like Iowa the flexibility you need to care for the most vulnerable in this state — the Iowa way," he said.

But some lawmakers have cast doubt on Congress' ability to fully repeal and replace ObamaCare by the end of summer, arguing that disagreements among Republicans and opposition from Democrats are likely to stand in the way. 

"It's unlikely that we will get a healthcare deal," Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms Trump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE (R-N.C.) said this week. "I don't see a comprehensive healthcare plan this year."

Pence told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Friday, however, that he remained "cautiously optimistic" that an ObamaCare replacement could come by the end of the year.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that could come the end of this year, we’re going to deliver on repealing and replacing ObamaCare; we’re going to pass tax cuts and you’re going to see an economy roaring and continue to grow under a president who is fighting every day for the forgotten men and women of America," he said.