Rush Limbaugh Talks Obamacare With VP Mike Pence: “We Take The Teeth Out Of The Tiger”

RUSH: Well, let’s delve into that, since you bring that up. The most recent — and keeping track of this is its own job. But I’ll tell you, the best I’ve been able to come up with as we are discussing today, 24 members of the House Freedom Caucus — i.e., the conservative caucus in the House. The leader claims they’ve got 24 votes against the House bill. If that’s true, the House bill is going to fail. Is that what you’ve heard?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I had a great meeting this morning with members of the Freedom Caucus who were kind enough to come over to the White House. You know, Rush, you’ve known me for a long time. The Freedom Caucus didn’t exist when I was a member of Congress, but if I’d have been there when they organized it, you know I’m sure would have joined it. (chuckling) I battled against Big Government not only under Democrat presidents, but under Republican presidents. I opposed the Wall Street bailout, I opposed the Medicare prescription drug bill, and those are tough fights.

But I met with the team today and I said, “Look, for all the debate over the various details of this bill, the truth is that conservatives in the House have improved this legislation.” Because of House conservatives, we’ve managed to add block granting of Medicaid to the states. Because of House conservatives, we now have a work requirement for able-bodied adults in Medicaid, and we’re working on additional amendments that will be taken up in the Senate that will expand the ability of people to buy health insurance across state lines. But the simple fact is that —

RUSH: Well, wait. When is that going to happen?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it actually begins in a couple levels. As you know, Rush, this is a step-by-step process. This first bill, along with Secretary Tom Price’s effort at HHS, really do a couple things. First, we repeal the tax penalties of Obamacare. We essentially take the teeth out of the tiger, and now the American people are no longer faced with a tax penalty (chuckles) if they fail to purchase health insurance.

RUSH: And the mandate’s gone, correct?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: The mandate will require 60 votes to take that sentence out of the statute, but we essentially take the enforceability away by removing the tax penalties in this budget bill. And remember, this first bill only requires 51 votes. So the president said to us, “Get everything you can in this first bill,” and so in this first bill, we repeal the taxes. We launch health savings accounts on a broader basis in the country, and most importantly, we passed the largest reform of Medicaid in the 50-year history of this program, transferring Medicaid back to the states with all-new flexibility — as I said — with work requirements as an option, with… And we also allow states simply to take a block grant of Medicaid all designed so that they can — in Florida and all over the country — reform Medicaid in ways that will better serve the most vulnerability in those communities.


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