In his first visit to Wisconsin since the election, Republican leaders welcomed Vice President Mike Pence to Janesville to tour Blain’s Farm & Fleet Supply’s facilities and lay out President Donald Trump’s economic plans for the near future.
The vice president spoke to nearly 200 workers of the facility following a listening session with Janesville locals and business entrepreneurs.
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Pence brought two main topics of discussion with him to Janesville: Health care and the economy. The administration plans to introduce the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — within the new few days.
The current administration plans to have an orderly transition to a new health care system, Pence said. Despite growing concerns for what will come to replace Obamacare, Pence dismissed nationwide protests over health care.
“Despite the best efforts of some activists at town hall meetings around the country, the truth of the matter is the American people know Obamacare has failed, and Obamacare must go,” Pence said.
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But one main problem Republicans seem to ignore is that they have no “viable plan” to replace Obamacare, state Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, said in a Democratic Party of Wisconsin statement.
“The truth is that any of the Republican plans would leave Americans with worse care that is more expensive and harder to acquire,” Kolste said.
In a similar statement, DPW Chair Martha Laning said the ACA is “more popular than ever” and Republicans’ ideas for replacement would make care harder to get and more expensive.
But Tom Price, the new U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services who also attended the event said the administration is currently crafting a replacement plan.
Unlike Obamacare, the new plan would give authority to states and make sure people can afford the insurance they want, Price said. The plan would prioritize lowering prescription drug prices and increasing affordability and accessibility.
“Wisconsin can’t afford this mess, and neither can the rest of the country,” Price said.
House Speaker U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Price preceded Pence and stressed the importance of addressing concerns for “down-to-earth individuals who are just trying to build a life for themselves and their families.”
Ryan, a Janesville Republican, said Trump spoke to all Americans during his campaign and focused on addressing health care, improving the economy and reducing regulation. Ryan said he also saw a particular focus on solutions in Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday.
Johnson said no political party has a “monopoly on compassion,” and the primary desire of Wisconsinites and Americans is to succeed and do well for their families. He attributed positive change to “bomb throwers” like Pence, Ryan and Price, who entered government to fix problems.
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Calling businesses like Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Harley Davidson the “engine” and “backbone” of the American economy, Pence said government agencies will be instructed to find two regulations to eliminate before introducing any new ones in the interest of promoting businesses.
“When small business is strong, America is strong,” Pence said. “President Donald Trump is the best friend Wisconsin businesses will ever have.”