The Latest: Pence: current health care law bad for business

(AP) — The Latest on the health care debate as Congress begins work on a GOP-drafted overhaul (all times EST):

1:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says former President Barack Obama’s health care law is making it difficult for businesses to grow and the Trump administration will bring the “Obamacare nightmare” to an end.

Pence says in a speech to business leaders from the Latino Coalition that the health law has placed a “crushing burden” on job creation and hurt small businesses.

The vice president says despite “fear-mongering” there will be an “orderly transition” after Congress acts to repeal the law.

He says the White House will work after the repeal to allow for the sale of health insurance across state lines.

Pence says he wants to “get that little lizard on television or get Flo out there selling health insurance,” a reference to GEICO and Progressive Insurance ads.


12:30 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan wants everyone to know that Republicans are literally rolling up their sleeves to work on health care legislation.

Ryan showed up for his weekly press briefing jacketless and with his sleeves rolled up, and proceeded to deliver a PowerPoint presentation to assembled media about the GOP health care bill now moving through the House.

With a captive audience, on live TV and armed with a laser pointer, the speaker clicked through a series of slides meant to illustrate problems with the existing Affordable Care Act, and the GOP’s solutions.

His wonky lecture lasted far longer than his usual weekly briefings. Unacknowledged were the array of opponents criticizing the GOP’s repeal-and-replace drive from across the political spectrum.


10:25 a.m.

Democrats are fortifying themselves for the long haul as the House Energy and Commerce Committee nears the 24-hour mark of its meeting to debate and pass part of the Republicans’ health bill.

The second-ranking House Democrat — Maryland’s Steny Hoyer — has showed up, along with aides who are carrying platters of pastries, doughnuts and bagels.

Hoyer says “we’re here to support our troops so they can get something to eat.”

Committee members are in an epic fight over the bill. Majority Republicans are determined to pass it before adjourning, while Democrats are offering as many amendments as they could to slow the process.

The scores of amendments have been rejected on party-line votes.


8:45 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence plans to visit Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday as he tries to make the case for repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Pence is set to appear with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin at the event in the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Fellow Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has been a critic of the health care legislation backed by President Donald Trump and Pence.

Pence was in Ohio and Wisconsin last week in support of the repeal.


8:30 a.m.

A political group tied to House Republican leaders is running TV ads to pressure conservative lawmakers on health care.

The American Action Network says it will run spots in 30 districts represented by members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus.

Many in that group have opposed the GOP-drafted health care overhaul. They say the measure creates costly tax credits and doesn’t end former President Barack Obama’s law swiftly, including its Medicaid expansion.

The spots cost a modest $500,000, and they say the Republican bill offers more control and lower costs than Obama’s law. Critics say the Republican bill proposes sparser coverage and would make care unaffordable for many.

The announcer tells viewers to urge lawmakers to “vote with President Trump” and support the bill.