Politics

President Donald Trump urged a crowd in Louisville to support the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare currently making it through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Before a crowd of around 18,000 people packed into Freedom Hall, Trump said the bill was “our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare.”

“Obamacare has been a complete and total catastrophe and it’s getting worse and worse by the day,” Trump said. “And yet you watch the fake media, the fake news, and they try and build it up. It’s a disaster, fellas.”

Many Republicans have been wary of the plan, which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicted would leave about 24 million Americans without health coverage.

Kentucky’s U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has been the most vocal Republican opponent to the plan, favoring an all-out repeal instead.

On Monday evening, Trump called Paul a “good guy.”

“I look forward to working with him so we can get this bill passed in some form,” said Trump. “So we can pass massive tax reform, which we can’t do until this happens.”

Trump said several times during his speech that tax reform — a major Republican priority — couldn’t happen until the repeal and replace plan passed.

“We’ve got to get this done before we can do the other…In other words, we’ve have to know what this is before we can do the big tax cuts. We’ve gotta get it done for a lot of reasons, but that’s one,” Trump said.

Though Paul was not in attendance, Trump was joined by several of Kentucky’s elected Republicans.

Sen. Mitch McConnell gave a brief speech in support, saying Trump would “give us the chance to fix this health care mess left behind by President Barack Obama.”

Many members of the audience booed McConnell and he only gave a two-minute speech.

Gov. Matt Bevin also spoke, praising Trump for using what he called “common sense” to connect with the American electorate.

“This place, we the people say we aren’t going to listen to the experts,” Bevin said. “We the people do want to have our voice heard. We the people want to dictate who’s in charge. We the people want to take our nation back and have a voice in how our government operates.”

Bevin said he didn’t understand the “logic behind” parts of the Affordable Care Act like requirements that insurers provide maternity coverage.

“Truth be told, as a 50-something-year old man, I don’t need maternity healthcare coverage, I don’t. I’m not expecting,” Bevin said. “And the idea that I would be expected to carry health care coverage on the outside chance that I might be, a little bit preposterous.”

The Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will receive a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.