01:12 - Source: WJXT
Mike Pence stumps for health care bill

Story highlights

Pence said the GOP bill would allow states to accept block grant funding for Medicaid

GOP leaders hope the changes will attract the additional support needed for passage

CNN  — 

Vice President Mike Pence took his health care pitch on the road Saturday, telling small business owners and government leaders in Jacksonville, Florida, that the Republican plan to replace Obamacare would allow states to impose a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.

Pence said the GOP overhaul, which is coming up for a House vote Thursday, would give states the option of accepting block grant funding for Medicaid instead of fixed funding “so states like Florida can innovate and design Medicaid around the unique needs of the people in this community.

“These are all commonsense solutions added to this legislation in a vigorous debate on Capitol Hill, and under the President’s leadership we’ll continue to listen intently for ways to make this even better,” Pence told the crowd.

Republican lawmakers have been assured that the bill is on track and is being reworked to include the options, which conservatives, including Republican Study Committee, have lobbied for.

GOP leaders, who have been on the receiving end of harsh criticism about the bill from many Republicans, are hoping the changes will attract the additional support needed to secure the 216 votes to pass the legislation.

Conservative lawmakers, led by members of the House Freedom Caucus, have argued that the plan wouldn’t go far enough to repeal Obamacare and would allow Medicaid expansion – something 16 states run by Republican governors opted to implement – to be in place too long.

Democrats, meanwhile, have trashed the bill, arguing that it would prevent millions from obtaining health care and dramatically slash Medicaid funding.

President Donald Trump acknowledged the difficulty in making changes to the bill, saying during a Friday news conference: “You do something for one side and the other side doesn’t like it.”

But Pence said Saturday that the President is completely behind the bill.

“Just yesterday, President Trump made it clear he supports the bill 100%, and we all do,” he said. “Every day, more and more members of Congress are getting on board, and as we work to pass this first bill, rest assured, our administration is also working with Dr. Tom Price over at Health and Human Services and with Seema Verma at the Center for Medicaid Services to give states like Florida the freedom and flexibility to help your most vulnerable in the ways that are going to be best for you.”