To say that Senate conservatives are “unhappy” with the Senate’s first version of their new healthcare bill, would probably be a bit of an understatement. However, it doesn’t seem like we should be without hope of a new bill passing.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) told MSNBC that the “current draft doesn’t get the job done… but there is an agreement to be reached.”
Cruz is often seen as the most unbending member of the conservative caucus in the Senate, but the truth is that he has flexed far more often than a few of his more congenial counterparts (like Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, and Rand Paul). There is likely a deal to be made that could get Senator Cruz to sign on to the health bill, but Senators Lee, Sasse, and Paul will be far more difficult sells.
In fact, while Senator Cruz was optimistic for a deal, Senator Paul seemed resigned to the idea that we’d be stuck with Obamacare forever.
Later in the day, Senator Paul told CBS News that there were at least 4 Republican no votes for the current Senate bill.
Paul also made an appearance on Fox News to explain why he was so adamantly opposed to the current bill.
I keep reading this and it sounds like Obamacare — not even Obamacare-lite. It might even be Obamacare-plus on the subsidies side. We can’t have a bill that spends more than Obamacare in the first couple years and call that a repeal bill…
We have to have sufficient confidence in capitalism, competition, and free markets. And I don’t think we do. I think we’re replacing them with little Obamacares. We don’t really believe the market will work, because what we’re doing is: The death spirals we’ve talked about so much. We’re just dumping a bunch of money into the individual markets and saying the prices will be lower.
You know what else we could do that with? New cars. Why don’t we have a new car stabilization fund? Or a college stabilization fund? Or an iPhone stabilization fund. Those would not be Republican ideas, and they would be laughed out of Congress.
The same should happen for a stabilization fund where we dump taxpayer dollars into insurance company’s coffers, who are already making billions per year.
On CNN Paul repeated many of the same themes:
My opposition has been principled. In the sense that I think the marketplace works better. I think freedom works better than coercion.
I think the federal government shouldn’t be giving any money to insurance companies. The insurance companies made $15 billion in profits last year. The new Republican bill will give them $110 billion to ‘bring down prices.’ That is a ludicrous economic theory.
We’re going to subsidize the cost to bring it down — we’re ignoring the fact that our annual budget is $500 billion in debt. How are we going to pay for all this new spending?
So yea… the conservatives are not excited about this bill.