Vice President Mike Pence stopped in Louisville Saturday to pitch the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“The Obamacare nightmare is about to end,” Pence said before a crowd of about 150 business owners.
The visit came as President Trump tries to rally support for the plan, especially among conservatives like Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who favors an outright repeal of Obamacare.
“Folks, let me be clear,” Pence said. “This is going to be a battle in Washington D.C. And for us to seize this opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all we need every Republican in Congress and we’re counting on Kentucky.”
The current repeal and replace bill would do away with the law’s requirement that individuals have health insurance and large employers provide it.
The plan would also remove taxes that fund Obamacare and begin scaling back the Medicaid expansion in states like Kentucky that expanded the government healthcare program.
About 500,000 Kentuckians got health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, mostly through the Medicaid expansion, helping bring the state’s uninsured rate from more than 20 percent to about 7 percent.
Pence was joined by Gov. Matt Bevin who downplayed discord over the measure.
“Of course there’s disagreement as to what we should do with it,” said Bevin. “This is America. Americans have opinions.”
Sen. Rand Paul has been one of the most vocal critics of the repeal and replace plan, calling it “Obamacare lite.”
“The only thing that’s really united us over time is repeal,” Paul said on Fox News Friday. “And if ObamaCare lite is the replacement, conservatives aren’t going to accept it.”
Paul’s spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper issued a statement after Pence’s speech saying he “looks forward to continuing to work with the administration and Congress for a real repeal of Obamacare and replace it with conservative market-based solutions that will bring down prices and give families more choices.”