Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe recently to discuss the GOP’s ongoing efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Senator Paul has initiated the first conservative attempt at destroying the old system and replacing it with a conservative approach to healthcare. He and Congressman Mark Sanford’s (R-SC) plan is called “the Obamacare Replacement Plan,” and he is hopeful that he can get the entire GOP caucus on board with it. Paul argues that while it is a conservative plan, about half of it was essentially written by GOP moderate Tom Price (R-GA) who is now the Secretary of Health and Human Services
I think conservatives are coalescing around it and I think there’s not one idea in the bill. If you polled those ideas with the House Republicans over the Senate Republicans I think you’d find very little objection to any idea that I have in my bill. In fact, at least half of the ideas in the bill came from legislation from Congressman Tom Price.
So, I think it actually has the ability to become the consensus bill but, you know, people often call this a “sausage-making factory.” We’ve got to start making some sausage and so we put this forward and we’re saying these are ideas that most people have agreed to. Tell us what you don’t like, tell us what you do like, but let’s repeal the whole thing.
We won the election in 2010, 2014, and the White House in 2016 on the platform of complete repeal. We’ve already voted for complete repeal last year. Let’s go it again. Complete repeal for this replacement was something that will help the people who still need help.
Joe Scarborough: So, Senator, does your bill have preexisting conditions covered as a federal guarantee?
Rand Paul: What is does is for two years you can sign up whether you’ve got a preexisting condition or not. After that, if you want to have insurance you’ve got to keep it. And the reason you do that is that the insurance model doesn’t work if you tell people. This was the fatal flaw of Obamacare.
If you can get insurance after you’re sick, you will, and then you won’t get it when you’re healthy, and then the model fails and you get adverse selection. And insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina lost $400 million in the individual market and that will continue and get worse when the individual mandate’s gone if you say people can still get insurance after they’re sick. So you have to fix that. It doesn’t sound — nobody’s real excited — oh, my goodness, we’re taking away something. But the insurance model does not work as long as that’s in the model, and we have to be honest with people.
Robert Draper of the NY Times: Hey, Senator, it’s Robert Draper with “The New York Times Magazine.” My understanding is that part of your proposal is going to be paid for by cutting government spending. Are you going to be able to get Democrats on board with that — anybody in the Senate?
Rand Paul: Well, let’s be clear. There is no cost to my proposal unless you call reducing taxes a cost. So there is no expenditure from the federal government. It’s not a federal government program but we do let people keep more of their own money through tax deductions to save into their health savings accounts. If you call that a cost, yes. Conservatives are willing to cut spending. Unfortunately, the talk in Washington usually is if you cut someone’s taxes, you’ve got to raise somebody else’s taxes. We don’t accept that. We think if you cut taxes, make government smaller, send power and authority back to the states and to the people, we’re for smaller government. That’s what it means to be a conservative.