Pence tells US governors it’s time for ‘end of Obamacare’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence told a bipartisan gathering of governors on Friday that he and President Donald Trump believe the revised health care bill before the U.S. Senate is the “right bill at the right time to begin the end of Obamacare.”

“The president said he wanted a health care system that in his words is far less expensive and far better,” the Republican vice president said during a conference of the National Governors Association. “We believe the Senate health care bill begins to make the president’s vision a reality.”

Pence urged governors to support the plan, which was written by Republicans and would make major changes to the signature domestic policy of former President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

“I want to challenge each one of you to work together with this administration, to give the American people access to the world-class health care they deserve,” he said.

But several governors, Democratic and Republican, expressed concern about the bill and even outright opposition.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, said Republicans in Congress are “still trying to put lipstick on a pig. But guess what: It’s still a pig.”

Major cuts to Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor, the disabled and nursing home residents, is a key sticking point for many governors, especially those in states that expanded it under Obama’s health care law.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau followed Pence in addressing the governors from about 30 states.

Trudeau, when asked about the debate over health care in the U.S. compared to Canada’s national health care system, said he doesn’t think it’s appropriate for one country to lecture another on how it should govern itself.

He focused his speech on the fundamental importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Canada and how he’d like to see “a thinner border for trade, not a thicker one.” He told the governors that barriers to trade between the countries kill growth and don’t help working families.

Trudeau said the North American Free Trade Agreement should be “modernized,” as it has been in the past, and he’s confident its renegotiation will be done to the benefit of all countries.

Pence also spoke about modernizing NAFTA so it’s a “win, win, win” for all the trading partners. Pence and Trudeau met to talk about trade on the sidelines of the meeting.

Pence, after his address, met with several governors, including Republicans Brian Sandoval, of Nevada, and Asa Hutchinson, of…

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