SPRINGDALE, Ohio - Vice President Mike Pence dropped in on a Springdale frame manufacturer Thursday to talk to local business leaders about the beat path forward on health care reform.
Accompanied by Secretary Tom Price of the Department of Health and Human Services, Pence met at Frame USA on Northland Boulevard for about an hour with the business leaders. The public was not invited to the event.
"The Obamacare nightmare is about to end," Pence declared.
About 100 people including many of Frame USA's employees filled the company's cavernous packaging room to hear Pence. Dan Regenold, the company's chief executive officer, is a vocal supporter of the Trump administration. The company vigorously promotes its Made-In-America picture frames and artwork.
The vice president said nothing about the latest turbulence in Washington -- that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may not have been truthful about his contacts with the Russian ambassador last year.
Pence's visit comes two days after President Trump delivered an address to a joint session of Congress in which he presented his policies in broad strokes. During the campaign last year, Trump said he would immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with “something terrific.”
Since Trump’s inauguration, constituents have packed town hall meetings with members of Congress to ask that the ACA be kept in place until a new law is passed. Last week, the president observed that “nobody knew how complicated” health care would be.
To Congress on Tuesday night, the president did not propose a bill but called on lawmakers to “save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.” He signaled support for an idea championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan of tax credits to help people purchase insurance coverage. But Trump did not discuss what to do about the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA.
More than 700,000 Ohioans were able to get Medicaid coverage with the expansion. More than one in four of those residents has been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition, most commonly high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Rather than requiring all Americans to buy health insurance, Trump wants market changes that he said would bring down the cost of a policy. In addition to the new tax credits, Trump’s “principles” of changing the ACA include expanded use of health savings accounts, greater state flexibility for Medicaid, permission for insurers to sell plans across state lines and retention of the popular provision to prevent insurers from refusing to sell policies to people who already have medical conditions.