Mike Pence makes bizarre dodge of question on GOP healthcare bill by quoting Thomas Jefferson

Vice President Mike Pence side-stepped a question about whether the Republicans' new Obamacare repeal and replace bill would guarantee health insurance for people with preexisting conditions as Obamcare does now.

"Fox & Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt brought up late-night host Jimmy Kimmel's impassioned condemnation of the bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, during a Thursday morning interview with the vice president. 

"You have folks like Jimmy Kimmel. They're worried about the preexisting condition thing because this will be up to the governors to decide how the money's disbursed, who gets coverage," Earhardt said. "But with that, can you guarantee that these governors will make sure preexisting conditions are covered?"

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens to Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela while delivering a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela (L) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence deliver a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Panama's deputy Foreign Minister Luis Hincapie (R) talks to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence upon his arrival to the Tocumen international airport in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) shakes hands with Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela after delivering a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence meet at the government house in Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017.REUTERS/Esteban Felix/Pool
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives to meet with Chile's President Michelle Bachelet (not pictured) at the government house in Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive at the International Airport of Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
Argentina's Vice President Gabriela Michetti and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shake hands at the Eva Peron hall inside The Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks next to Argentina's President Mauricio Macri during a news conference at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Argentina's President Mauricio Macri and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shake hands at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos greets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after his arrival in Cartagena, Colombia August 13, 2017. Colombian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Pence dodged the question.

"Thomas Jefferson said government that governs least governs best," he said. "I mean the question that people ought to ask is, who do you think will be more responsive to the health care needs in your community, your governor and your state legislator or a Congress and a president in a far-off nation's capital?"

The vice president then went on to say that the bill did, in fact, protect those with preexisting conditions, but excluded the word "guarantee."

"Graham-Cassidy, as its authors have said, contains all the same protections for preexisting conditions, as the president indicated," Pence said, seemingly referring to the president's recent claim that the new GOP bill "include[s] coverage of preexisting conditions."

(Trump tweeted on Wednesday, "I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of preexisting conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace.")

Pence argued that "almost anything would be better than Obamacare," which he claims is "collapsing across the country," and said the Graham-Cassidy bill is "our last best chance" to replace Obamacare. 

Critics of the bill argue that it would allow insurers to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, raise premiums for middle-class families, allow lifetime limits on care, and leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured. They claim it would not simply shrink Obamacare — formally known as the Affordable Care Act — as some previous GOP proposals would have, but eliminate key Obamacare programs entirely, upending the national healthcare system.

The Congressional Budget Office will issue a preliminary analysis of the bill by early next week, but the report will not include an estimate of the legislation's effects on insurance coverage, perhaps the most important information. Congressional Republicans are rushing the bill to the floor before their September 30 deadline. 

Watch the clip below: 

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