VP Elect Pence on Obamacare tax bill: We’re in ‘promise-keeping business’

VP Pence, Ryan, McCarthy at House Republican presser

At House Republican Conference presser, VP Elect Pence (center, left) was joined by House Speaker Paul Ryan (left), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (at podium) and other GOP leaders. (Photo: C-SPAN via House Republican Conference)

Vice President Elect Mike Pence joined top Republicans in a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 4, telling Americans the new administration will be in “the promise-keeping business.”

Pence, alongside House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA), offered Americans reassurances about repealing and replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the massive tax bill Democrats passed by budget reconciliation without GOP support. Democrats lost no time attacking the GOP with a large placard set up at their own event stating, “Make America Sick Again.” 

As Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree about the federal government’s de facto takeover of the health insurance market, Americans are bombarded with contradictory messaging. Democrats obviously think the bill is a plus although they have already joined Republicans in repealing some tax provisions.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to misrepresent the PPACA and media ignore it. Obamacare is a tax bill, not a healthcare bill, and its sustainability rests on enormous taxes that have or will affect almost every American. Those taxes include a fee on every policy to offset costs of the bill.

Some Obamacare taxes, like the Cadillac tax likely to affect union workers, were delayed perhaps in an effort to keep supporters on board even as many Americans saw premiums hike dramatically and deductibles rise to a point where we see our costly health insurance as a discount mechanism more than insurance.

If Obamacare is not legally classed as a tax bill, it is not constitutional as the Supreme Court indicated in its ruling upholding the tax provisions. Republicans have failed to get that point across to Americans.

Ryan stressed the need to do what President Elect Donald Trump has suggested—tread carefully because, “We don’t want to pull the rug out from anybody during this transition.” Ryan said PPACA is “a story of broken promise after broken promise.” The speaker also said “transition relief” would be necessary as the health insurance market transitions from government-dominance to a free market approach.

Pence said of Obamacare it’s been “a failure since its inception.” He said for a “better future in healthcare,” there will be “more choices—the power of the free marketplace.” Elements Republicans want to introduce include being able to purchase insurance across state lines and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

One media outlet asked Pence about the controversy over WikiLeaks and Julian Assange’s release of leaked documents from various Democrats and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Pence said an intelligence briefing is due on Friday, but it’s good to have “healthy skepticism about intelligence conclusions…considering failures in recent years.”

Both Ryan and Pence emphasized the need to “be careful” as the PPACA is repealed and replaced. Pence said Americans will have “more choices” with the Republicans’ approach.

Changes were already in the works for PPACA/Obamacare, another fact Democrats and media tend to ignore. Those changes include increased taxes for those who don’t follow the federal diktat to purchase insurance and increases in premiums.

The IRS provides a breakdown on Obamacare taxes.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Jan. 4, 2017)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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