Pence speaks to HHS employees: 7 things to know

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to HHS employees June 13 about healthcare in the U.S. and the future of the ACA.

Here are seven things Mr. Pence highlighted in his speech.

1. Mr. Pence began by acknowledging the "hands and feet" of the nation: the HHS employees. He said HHS employees "make a difference in the lives of Americans every single day" and should be proud of their efforts.

2. He said President Donald Trump's vision for healthcare is "pretty straight forward." Through the American Health Care Act, President Trump seeks "a dynamic national, health insurance marketplace that lowers costs, increases quality and gives more choices to working families … American businesses [should] have the freedom to give their employees the affordable coverage that they need and deserve … States [should have] the freedom and flexibility to create the healthcare system that works best for them, for their most vulnerable. And most of all … the American people [should be able] to make healthcare choices that are best for them in a free and open process."

3. Mr. Pence said the ACA "has failed" the American people, and cited a HHS report suggesting the ACA has led to "skyrocketing premiums across the country … [that] have more than doubled since Obamacare went into effect."

4. In addition to soaring costs, Mr. Pence said insurers have begun pulling out of the ACA exchanges "left and right." He said "a third of American counties, including five whole states, only have one choice of Obamacare insurance coverage — meaning they have no choice at all."

5. Citing information from an HHS report, Mr. Pence said "tens of thousands of Americans, or more, won't have any insurance options at all next year." He highlighted states such as Ohio, Missouri and Iowa as examples of areas where insurers have pulled out of the ACA marketplace, leaving consumers with few coverage options.

6. "The simple truth is, President Trump is right. Obamacare is collapsing," Mr. Pence said.  "And frankly, you'd have to be blinded by partisanship to believe otherwise. And unfortunately, a lot of people in [Washington, D.C.] are."

7. He noted he and President Trump invited certain Senate leaders to have lunch at the White House June 13 to discuss the AHCA.

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