Remarks by the Vice President on Healthcare, Cleveland OH
5:09 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.)
It is great to be back in the Buckeye State. It truly is. And before I get started, allow me to bring greetings from a friend of mine, a man the people of Ohio voted overwhelmingly to send to the Oval Office, the 45th President of the United States of America -- President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
The President sent me here today to say thank you. Thank you to all the good people of Ohio for your unwavering support. And I want to promise you, you got exactly what you voted for. You elected a fighter. You elected a winner, and I promise you President Donald Trump will never stop fighting for the issues that matter most to the American people -- good jobs, safe streets, and a boundless American future. (Applause.)
And I’m really very touched that you all would come out today on a Wednesday afternoon. And I’m grateful to be joined today by another friend of mine, a strong partner of this administration, a leader who represents Ohio with such distinction in Washington, D.C. -- Congressman Jim Renacci is here. Jim, would mind standing up? (Applause.)
I was for Jim Renacci before it was cool. (Laughter.) I really was. I got to know him before he was even elected to the Congress, and now he serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. He’s been a great champion of economic growth and jobs here in Ohio, and I truly honored, truly honored that you’d be with us today, Congressman.
And of course, thank you to Mike Gordon for that kind introduction and thank you to the whole team here at Tendon Manufacturing. This is a great American success story. (Applause.)
This business really is what America is all about. It’s remarkable to think that nearly 30 years ago, Tendon got off the ground with only six employees. But you've clearly been doing something right here because today the company employs more than 75 people in good-paying jobs. You’ve got a state-of-the-art operation. You’re living the American Dream by doing the thing most people think is impossible. You're just doing a great job every day, and your customers are responding. Give this whole team a round of applause, will you? Great job. (Applause.)
And I got to tell you, President Trump knows just how important manufacturing is in this country. The truth is companies like this one are the engine of the American economy. They're the beating heart of our national life. And I’ll make you a promise: President Trump is going to be the best friend American manufacturing will ever have. (Applause.)
The President promised to in his words to “set the stage for a great revival” for our factories, a new Buy American, Hire American agenda. And thanks to the President’s decisive action, American manufacturing is already roaring back.
In the first five months of last year, American manufacturers lost 24,000 jobs. The first five months of this year, under President Donald Trump, businesses large and small have created more than 600,000 new good-paying jobs -- including 55,000 new manufacturing jobs all across America. (Applause.)
And going back decades, manufacturers have invested in jobs and factories in other countries. But this year you've seen it in the newspapers, company after company are making record investment -- investing billions of dollars in America and creating American jobs instead of investing and building factories overseas. (Applause.)
Today, American manufacturers are more optimistic than at any point in the last 20 years. Confidence is back. Manufacturing is back because since day one of this administration, President Trump has been fighting tirelessly for manufacturers and the men and women who work the factory floors just like this one.
Here’s a couple of examples. Since the outset of this administration this President has signed more laws cutting federal red tape than any President in American history. (Applause.)
The President’s actions have already saved American business and American workers up to $18 billion per year. That’s money that our companies can invest in workers and in payroll and further investment in their futures.
And this President has been putting America first every single day, like the day a couple of weeks back when he withdrew the United States of America from the Paris Climate Accord. (Applause.)
As the President said it best -- that international agreement by some estimates would have cost 6.5 million jobs in this country in the next 25 years, put an enormous burden on our workers, on our economy while virtually letting countries like China and India get off scot-free for decades.
You can look at all the statistics, but the President understands his job when he said he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris -- Cleveland, not Copenhagen. And by withdrawing from that terrible deal, President Trump put America First, and he always will put America First. (Applause.)
This week is actually Energy Week, as well. And the President has been busy advancing American energy and American energy independence, ushering in a new era of energy dominance for this entire country.
The President approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines. And Dakota pipeline is already open, building the infrastructure of this country for energy. (Applause.) He’s rolled back the Clean Power Plan that's been raising electrical rates in states around the country. And under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over. (Applause.)
And the President has also not just been cutting red tape and making energy more affordable, but the President has also been focused on making sure that men and women of this country have the opportunities to get the skills education that's necessary to support their aspirations and to support a growing American future.
The President is working every day to make sure that the next generation has the opportunity to pursue careers in manufacturing and the skill trades. The truth of the matter is we're going to make vocational education a priority in every state and in every community in America once again. (Applause.)
Just two weeks ago, the President signed an executive order to expand apprenticeships and vocational training across this country. And under the President’s leadership, I’m confident we’ll train the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow -- not here at great places like Tendon Manufacturing alone but in companies large and small all across the country.
The President promised to get the American economy moving again, and he’s done exactly that. As I’ve traveled across this country on behalf of our President, coming to businesses just like this, talking to people just like you, I see the truth: President Trump has turned this country and our economy around -- and the world knows that America is back. (Applause.)
But as the President likes to say, what I just described to you is just a good start. The truth is we got a lot more work to do. And I came here today to assure you of one piece of work that they're going to get done. Before this summer is out, President Trump is going to work with this Congress, and we're going to keep a promise to the American people, and we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Applause.)
Every day that Obamacare survives is another day the American people struggle. I heard it from local businesses in a conversation we just had at the other end of this plant. We all remember the broken promises they made back when they passed Obamacare about seven years ago. You remember them. They said if you like your doctor you can keep them -- not true. They said if you like your health insurance you can keep it -- not true. We were told the cost of health insurance would go down -- not true at all.
Now we know the facts. Just last month, our administration released a new study of actual numbers proving that Obamacare has made health insurance more unaffordable for millions of Americans.
Here in Ohio, Obamacare has spiked premiums on the individual market by nearly 90 percent in just the last few years. President Obama actually promised that you’d save up to $2,500 in your annual premiums back when Obamacare was passed, but the average premium now costs nearly $2,500 more than it did in 2013.
And it’s only getting worse. Working families in Ohio and all over America are facing double-digit premium hikes heading into 2018. Add in the sky-high deductibles that often cost more than $10,000 or more for family plans, and it quickly becomes clear that Obamacare is not only unaffordable, but it’s getting more unaffordable every day. I mean it’s amazing to think 6.5 million Americans today choose to pay the fine instead of paying for insurance under Obamacare.
I actually met with some families this week in Washington, D.C. who said in effect there was no difference between paying a fine and getting nothing or paying the same amount of money and getting health insurance that they essentially couldn’t use because the deductible was so high.
And while costs are skyrocketing, choices are plummeting. Right now a third of American counties, including five whole states, only have one choice of an Obamacare health insurance provider -- which basically means you have no choice at all.
And come next year, tens of thousands of Americans or more may have no Obamacare coverage available because health insurers are abandoning this failed law left and right. You see the headlines every day all across this country.
Just a few weeks ago, the last statewide health insurer announced that it would pull out of Obamacare right here in Ohio by the end of 2018. Now at least 18 counties in Ohio and 12,000 Ohio citizens or more won’t have any Obamacare insurance to choose from at all.
Ohio really is a case study in Obamacare’s collapse, and this failed policy is taking working families to a place where they have to struggle even more every day.
And, folks, remember -- it’s one of the reasons I stopped and talked to the small-business owners before I met today; it’s another reason that I had families out in Washington, D.C. at the White House; and the President and I have been traveling the country talking to folks because it’s one thing -- as the Congressman knows -- to talk about the numbers. And policymakers have to look at the numbers. We're talking about real people. We're talking about families that are struggling to make ends meet.
Just a few days ago, at the White House, I met with a small group of families that are in that category, including a couple of Ohio families who have suffered tremendously under Obamacare. I met Connie Mays. She’s a great woman who’s lived her whole life in the same small town here in Ohio where she grew up.
A few years ago, Connie became disabled and could no longer work. She was counting on her Obamacare coverage to get her through this difficult time. But it’s not working out. Connie lost her health-insurance plan at the end of last year. Choices began to plummet on the Ohio exchange.
She tried to make the best of it. She told me she worked with the exchange to find a new plan, and she was told that they had found something similar to the one she had lost. But after three months of Connie paying expensive premiums, she learned that her new Obamacare plan didn’t cover any of the doctors or hospitals or clinics in her county that dealt with her condition. None.
Connie lost her plan. She lost her doctor, and she’s just about lost hope that she’ll ever find the health insurance that she needs to make it through.
Well, I looked Connie in the eye and I’m looking all of you in the eye, and on behalf of President Trump, I’m here to tell you, help is on the way. We're going to repeal and replace Obamacare, and we're going to give Connie and all of you and the American people the kind of world-class healthcare you deserve. (Applause.)
Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go. You’d have to be a politician blinded by partisanship to believe otherwise. But sadly, Congress is full of them. Regardless of what they say, the very ones who gave us Obamacare now won’t lift a finger to help clean up the mess that they made seven years ago.
It is remarkable: The Democrats in Congress today would rather let Obamacare implode and let the country suffer, rather than admit their mistake and help Republicans rescue the American people.
But they won’t succeed I promise you because President Donald Trump will not rest and will not relent until we repeal and replace this failed law and end the Obamacare nightmare once and for all. (Applause.)
The President and I are grateful for the efforts in the House of Representatives, and Congressman Renacci was a key part of the progress they made in the House. And we're personally grateful for the leadership of the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and all the Republicans in the Senate, including Ohio’s own Senator Rob Portman, who are working, who are discussing, and who are talking about how we can move this legislation forward to give the American people a healthcare system that actually works.
I’m here to say we're making great progress every single day, and we're not going to let up. The bill being considered in the Senate repeals and replaces Obamacare, plain and simple. It sets us on a path to a new healthcare system in America built on more freedom, more choices, and more affordability.
The bill repeals Obamacare’s mandates and taxes on the American people and American business. It restores freedom and saves jobs. The legislation being considered in the Senate expands health savings accounts, offers tax credits to help you buy the coverage that you need at a price you can afford. And the bill ensures that every American with preexisting conditions has access to the coverage and the care that they need -- no exceptions. (Applause.)
And the Senate’s bill reforms -- like the House bill, the Senate’s bill reforms and strengthens Medicaid for the people who need it most. This legislation will give states like Ohio the freedom and flexibility that your governor and your legislature need to be able to style Medicaid here in Ohio to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in the way that works best in Ohio -- because this President believes in state-based solutions, not one-size-fits-all-Washington answers to the challenges we face. (Applause.)
And I’m also pleased that the Senate bill addresses something that hits close to home right here in the Midwest and here in Ohio, and that is the scourge of opioid abuse and addiction. We saw it in Indiana, and you’ve seen it here in Ohio, as well.
This legislation actually provides new resources to address the heartbreaking opioid crisis that’s ravaging towns and families.
Let me say that Senator Rob Portman has been a true leader on this issue, and the President and I are grateful for his work. Senator Portman’s heartfelt leadership was crucial to passing the CURES Act last year, which gave states like Ohio all new support to address the opioid crisis and help those in need.
And with the leadership and support of Senator Rob Portman and his help, I know that President Trump and this administration will do even more to confront the scourge of opioid addiction and bring relief to families that are struggling under the weight of this terrible, terrible affliction. (Applause.)
We're going to work with the Senator, and we're going to work with members of Congress, and we're going to put America on a road to healing from this terrible addiction. But as I said before: President Trump and I firmly support the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, but I promise you our administration is going to continue to work closely with members of the Congress, with Senator Portman and other members of the Senate to improve this bill, and we're going to give the American people access to the world-class healthcare that they deserve.
And when we repeal and replace Obamacare, it’s going to be a historic day for American health care. We’re going to create a dynamic, national health insurance market when we're all done that will lower costs, improve quality, and give more choices to working families.
We’re going to give American businesses like those that are here today the freedom to give their employees the coverage and the care that they want to give them. And after seven years of failed policies under Obamacare, we're going to put patients back in control of their own healthcare instead of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
This is the moment. Now is the time. For the past seven years, we’ve had a healthcare system based on the flawed premise that the federal government should order every American to buy health insurance, whether they want it or not; that bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, D.C. know better than patients and doctors; and worst of all, that the American people can’t be trusted to run our own lives and make our own healthcare choices.
Men and women of Ohio, I’m here to tell you we are on the precipice of an opportunity to restore a healthcare system in America based on the proven American principles of personal responsibility, free-market competition, state-based reform. And we have a chance to restore a healthcare system based on the ultimate American principle of freedom -- that’s the American way to meet the needs of healthcare in the American economy in the next century. And we're going to fight until we get it done. (Applause.)
We’ve got our work cut out for us. The truth is we need your help to get it done. We need each one of you to let your voice be heard, let your elected representatives in Washington, D.C. hear what I heard today from so many of you about the failure of Obamacare, the burden its placed on families and your belief that we can do better, that we can turn our ship of state back in the direction of freedom, of patient-centered care, of state-based innovation and reform for our most vulnerable. But they got to hear from you, folks. So I encourage you, in this moment, reach out and speak out. It will make a difference.
And let me say as soon as we repeal and replace Obamacare, next up -- working with Congressman Renacci and all the conservatives in the House and the Senate -- we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. It’s next. It’s coming next. (Applause.)
We're going to lower taxes on the American people and we’re going to lower taxes on American businesses so companies in America can compete with companies around the world to create jobs here in Ohio and all across this country instead of shipping them overseas. (Applause.)
But this is all where you come in as I mentioned. President Trump and I are counting on all of you, all the good people of Ohio to let your voice be heard.
If you like what you've seen so far in the last five months, just buckle up. We're just getting started. We're going to repeal and replace Obamacare. We're going to cut taxes. We're going to continue to steer the policies of this country toward American strength as we rebuild our military and stand tall in the world once again. (Applause.)
It’s the greatest honor of my life as the father of a United States Marine to serve with a President who cares so much about the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. (Applause.)
In the midst of everything we've done to get this economy going again, and we all know that security is the foundation of our prosperity, this President has already signed legislation supported by the Congress for the largest increase in military spending in the last 10 years. And before the year is out, we're going to pass a budget that includes the largest increase in defense spending since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
We're going to rebuild our military. We're going to restore the arsenal of democracy, and we are once again going to give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training they need to accomplish their mission, keep us safe, and come home safe to their families. (Applause.)
So it’s a tall order, but I serve with a tall President. (Laughter.) Broad shoulders and a big heart -- and he’s going to keep right on fighting.
And I know we’ll succeed. I know this because I have faith in this President. I see him every day when the cameras are off. I see his resilience and his determination. I see his love for his family, his love for this country, and his boundless energy to turn this country around.
And I also have the other kind of faith. I always love being in Ohio where your state motto reads: With God, all things are possible. (Applause.)
In these times of too much division in America, of widening and unknowable threats around the world, a struggling economy, as you stand by this President and those who stand by him, I encourage you to avail yourself of that motto’s wisdom.
If you're of a mind to bow the head and bend the knee, it would be a good time to do it, to pray for this country. But when you pray, I don't mean pray for an agenda or pray for a party. I rather like what Abraham Lincoln said in his time when he was asked if he thought God was on the side of the Union Army. President Lincoln responded, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My greatest concern is that we be on God’s side.
And so pray for America. Pray for this country. (Applause.) Because America matters far beyond our shores.
And so with confidence in all of you, with boundless confidence in the President I have the privilege to serve, and with faith in Him who set this miracle of democracy on these wilderness shores, I can tell you I know in my heart of hearts that with your support, and with President Trump in the White House, we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase -- we will Make America Great Again. (Applause.)
Thank you all very much. God bless you. God bless Ohio and God bless the United States of America.
5:35 P.M. EDT