Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recently sat down with Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle to discuss the bill that he calls “Obamacare-Lite,” and why it is that Republicans should be against it.
GOP leadership has long known that their “plan” for dealing with Obamacare would meet stiff resistance in Congress and on Main Street, which is why they did their best to hide the bill until the last moment possible. Now that it’s been made public, opposition has stiffened as conservatives begin to realize that this bill actually means that Obamacare will likely never be repealed, only retooled to satiate Republican opposition. How is it that the Republican Party, once opposed to socialized medicine, has now seemingly embraced some aspects of socialism? It’s a tremendous change from the way Republicans have been campaigning for the last 5 or 6 years, with their promises of repeal now giving way to simply offering mild adjustments to Obama’s healthcare disaster.
Senator Paul told Boyle that he believes the Establishment may be “pulling the wool” over President Trump’s eyes to get him to support this horrendous healthcare bill. When Boyle asked the Senator why it was GOP leadership was pushing so hard to pass this bill when so many Republicans were steadfastly against it, Paul replied that he couldn’t explain their reasoning.
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I don’t think it makes any sense and I think he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the president. I think when I’ve spoken with president Trump, I think he agrees with me that we should repeal and replace but I don’t think he’s stuck on that they have to be in the same bill necessarily. Paul Ryan, I think, is selling it to the White House and telling the White House, ‘Oh, it’s a piece of cake, it’s a done deal.’ And I don’t think that’s an accurate depiction of things. I think from the very beginning combining repeal and replace in one bill makes it very hard because we have different ideas on replace. We are pretty much united on repeal, but we have different ideas on replace. If the House leadership had come forward and talked to conservatives beforehand, I think they would have found out there is a lot of disagreement and they would have just passed what we already passed—what everybody voted for—and we also have a debate on the same day on a variety of replacement strategies. We still could do that. And I think if the House Freedom Caucus and the Senate conservatives stay together, I still think that that’s one possible outcome. It would be better for all of us if we separated it out with clean repeal and had replacement as a separate bill.
That opposition that Senator Paul is speaking of is a more than 70-strong contingent of House conservatives who have already announced that they will not vote for this bill, which many of them believe will simply entrench Obamacare in American law and make it nigh impossible to repeal in the future. The House Freedom Caucus has announced that they are united against the bill, and a host of other more moderate Republicans seem ready to fight the bill as well. Boyle spoke to several Congressional aides who work for Republicans not usually aligned with the most conservative GOP members who said that their bosses are all against the bill and just don’t see how House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) plans to move the bill forward.
One aide told Boyle, “I think you’re looking at 60 to 70 noes right now on the floor. The phone lines have been blowing up with opposition to what they’re calling Ryan-Care. This is a hell of a Mexican standoff—it’s Freedom Caucus versus Trump, and Ryan who I think is driving the process. Who blinks here? It’s bigger than the Freedom Caucus but the Freedom Caucus has planted their flag on this one. Who’s going to blink first?”
For his part, Senator Paul explains that there are four MAJOR problems with the healthcare bill being pushed by the GOP leadership, and Congressman Ryan in particular:
- It creates a new entitlement program
- It does not handle Obamacare taxes, and even keeps the “Cadillac Tax” in place
- It keeps Obamacare’s individual mandate, penalizing those who don’t purchase healthcare
- It keeps Obamacare’s risk corridors in place and just renames them
Paul also explained that there is a real concern that the healthcare bill gives illegal immigrants free access to Medicaid, “I think that is a concern—a valid concern, and I don’t think illegal immigrants—nor do I think we should be admitting people and putting them on welfare. We have enough poor people in our country without importing more people from around the world onto welfare.”
However, as bleak as things look now, Senator Paul doesn’t believe that it’s too late to toss this bill and move to a full repeal of Obamacare instead. He also believes that as President Trump learns more about the bill, and about conservative opposition to the bill, he’ll begin moving towards them in an effort to make a deal that pleases the entire Party and rids the nation of Obamacare forever.
“President Trump has indicated look, his career in business has been about negotiating deals. My guess is he realizes this is going to take some negotiation. He seems to be very open to hearing from conservatives. He’s been inviting my input and I’m aware he’s been inviting input from different members of the House Freedom Caucus as well.”
While the GOP may look fractured now, Senator Paul doesn’t want Republican voters to get too worried because the party is unified on the most important issues we face. “Everybody wants repeal and that’s what I keep telling people. We’re united on repeal, we’re just not united on the replacement part. To me, it makes evidently good sense to divide them, because I don’t think we’re coming to an agreement. If Paul Ryan were sitting right here with us, I don’t think we’d have an agreement on replace, nor do I think we will, because his ideas are Obamacare Lite and conservatives in this country just aren’t for that.” The question is, will the party still be united once the fight over this new healthcare bill is finished? And, will we be free of Obamacare when the dust finally settles?
Do yourself a favor and read Boyle’s entire interview with Senator Paul at Breitbart.