Traveling to the home state of a Republican critic of the administration-backed health care bill, Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that Obamacare is falling apart and must be replaced."Obamacare has failed the people of Kentucky," Mr. Pence told an audience in Louisville. "It's failed the people of America, and Obamacare must go." [...] Mr. Pence called Kentucky "a textbook example of Obamacare's failures."
Donald Trump was supposed to travel to Kentucky on Saturday to defend the Republican health care plan, which some have begun calling "Trumpcare," but the president canceled without explanation. (Trump instead went golfing for the ninth time since Inauguration Day.)Kentuckians were not, however, left empty-handed. As the conservative Washington Times noted, the vice president went instead.
Even by 2017 standards, this is bizarre. To the extent that reality still matters, Kentucky is actually a textbook example of the Affordable Care Act succeeding. As regular readers know, under Gov. Steve Beshear's (D) leadership, the state's success story has served as a national model, watching its uninsured rate drop from 20.4% to just 7.5%. In terms of state-by-state improvement, the Bluegrass State is tied for first as the greatest percentage improvement in the nation.Pence pointed to increases in premiums, but (a) premium hikes were common before "Obamacare" became law; (b) the vast majority of consumers aren't seeing sharp spikes; and (c) the Republican plan Pence was in Kentucky to promote will very likely push premiums even higher.All of which suggests Pence was trying to deceive his audience with rhetoric he should've recognized as false. Have you noticed how common this is becoming with the vice president?Usually, when we think about the Trump White House and dishonesty, we immediately think of Donald Trump, who lies with such unnerving frequency that some have questioned his mental stability. By comparison, Mike Pence may look like a Boy Scout.But looking past the Trump comparison, Pence's recent departures from the truth are starting to pile up. Pence's claims about when he learned about Michael Flynn's work as a foreign agent, for example, clearly aren't true. This followed related claims from Pence about Flynn's communications with Russia that have already proven to be false. (The vice president believes he was the victim in this case of someone else's lies.)Pence said no one from Team Trump spoke with Russian officials before Election Day, and that was untrue. The V.P. recently made claims about job creation that were also false.Under the circumstances, if you're looking at the White House's motley crew and assuming that Mike Pence is the honest one of the bunch, you may be grading on an overly generous curve.