U.S. Rep. Mike Pence set a clear task before Republicans Wednesday night in Iowa City: “Give the president and Obamacare the kind of welcome that it is going to deserve across the country.”
The Indiana Republican, who is believed to be a 2012 presidential contender, said that if Iowans fulfill their task that he guarantees that the rest of the nation will follow suit.
“I don’t think there is any mistake that the president has chosen Iowa City in your fair state to start making his case for this government take-over of health care to the American people,” said Pence, who spoke via the Internet to roughly 150 people gathered for rally on the campus of the University of Iowa. “Iowa is use to leading the nation. … It is time for the people of Iowa who believe in conservative values, who believe in limited government and who believe we can do better on health care reform to lead this nation again.”
Pence’s remarks came at an event jointly organized by the Republican Party of Iowa and the Federation of Iowa College Republicans on the eve of a visit by President Barack Obama. In May 2007, then-candidate Obama first outlined his plan for reforming the nation’s health care system at a presidential campaign rally in roughly the same location.
In less than 10 minutes of public remarks, Pence referred to recently passed health care reform legislation as Obamacare eight times and as a “government take-over” seven times. He also noted, no less than four times, that he and other Republicans in the U.S. House are determined to repeal the bill and begin the process anew.
“It was in the dead of the night on Sunday that Democrats in Congress and in this administration rammed through a government take-over of health care filled with individual mandates, job-killing taxes and a government-run insurance plan,” he said. “Some say we made history on Sunday night. Well, I said on the House floor that I think we broke history because we broke with our traditions of limited government, personal responsibility and the consent of the governed. The majority that will break these traditions is a majority that should be retired from Capitol Hill.”
Pence promised that if the bill was repealed and Congress — presumably with a Republican majority following the 2010 elections — was allowed to write a new bill that it would cut the cost of health insurance without growing government, provide “real malpractice reform” and use the savings to provide insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and provide the type of reform “necessary to ensure the long-term solvency of our country and all the programs that are vital to those most vulnerable.” He did not indicate why such reforms were not proposed or debated when the Republican Party previously controlled Congress.