Vice President Mike Pence called on Congress on Saturday to pass Obamacare repeal by summer after some senators expressed doubt healthcare reform would get done this year at all.
"This Congress must repeal and replace Obamacare," Pence said during Sen. Joni Ernst's "Roast and Ride" event in Boone, Iowa. The two rode into the event riding motorcycles.
Pence's comments come a day or so after Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told a local radio station that he didn't think healthcare reform could get done this year, let alone before Congress' month-long August recess that starts at the end of July.
Pence detailed the problems with Iowa's beleaguered individual market, which is for people who don't get insurance through work.
He noted that insurers have been fleeing the individual market due to mounting financial losses.
Now the only insurer in 94 out of Iowa's 99 counties, Medica, has toyed with leaving the individual market in 2018.
"Iowa is facing a healthcare crisis in America," he said.
A Senate working group of more than a dozen Republicans has been in talks about their own version of the American Health Care Act, which partially repeals and replaces Obamacare. Committee staff are working on legislative text this week, but it is only a draft for continuing talks.
So far no consensus in the GOP Senate conference has emerged over intractable issues such as Medicaid spending and whether to include more generous tax credits to help people on the individual market pay down insurance.
Pence also praised President Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate accords on Thursday. Pence played off Trump's line that he was elected to serve the citizens of "Pittsburgh, not Paris" during remarks on his decision.
"How great is it to have a president who is more concerned about Des Moines than Denmark?" Pence said.