Vice President Pence downplays concerns over disruptions to health care

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Vice President Mike Pence dismissed concerns Thursday about the pace of Republican plans to repeal and replace the health care law passed by Democrats under President Barack Obama, promising an “orderly transition” to a new system.

“Despite all the fear-mongering from the left, make no mistake about it. We’ll have an orderly transition to a better health care system,” Pence said at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

It was the only comment by Pence in a 20-minute speech that went beyond boilerplate rhetoric and touched on challenges facing the new administration. Nonetheless, the crowd of conservative activists greeted him with warm applause.

Pence’s comments came on the same day that former House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said Republicans would not repeal Obamacare.

“All this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal. … I started laughing because if you pass repeal without replace, first, anything that happens is your fault. You broke it,” Boehner said in a speech to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in Orlando, Fla.

And so far, there does not appear to be much consensus among Republicans on how to replace Obamacare. Trump himself has made wildly contradictory comments on when new legislation would be introduced, and on what it would look like.

Just a month ago Trump promised “insurance for everybody,” which is at odds with the plan congressional Republicans are working on.

Concerns over changes to the health care system have sparked raucous town hall meetings around the country with Republican members of Congress.

One of the biggest obstacles to repealing Obamacare is concern over what will happen to the millions of people who have been covered under an expansion of Medicaid included in the law. Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are in talks with governors to find a way to avoid losing coverage for those people. Trump will meet Friday at the White House to discuss the Medicaid issue with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican with whom he has clashed repeatedly.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Slideshow: Scenes from CPAC 2017 >>>

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