For most Republican Senators, “repeal Obamacare” became “repeal and replace,” which is now “fix Obamacare.”
Not Dr. Rand Paul.
The Kentucky Senator, and practicing physician, isn’t giving up his fight to repeal Obamacare and restore free markets in health care, even if it means taking on his own Republican leadership.
His latest idea will be to split “repeal and replace” into two, abolishing Obamacare now and deciding later what to replace it with.
That has the GOP Establishment spitting mad. They don’t want to repeal Obamacare, and have been using a false narrative that Republicans must accept a “replace” bill that simply expands Obamacare as a condition of repeal.
What is Paul’s plan? And why are GOP leaders going even further than Obama in socializing health care?
To start, Paul is not shy about calling out GOP leaders for being even bigger government shills than Obama, pointing to the lavish giveaways in the “repeal” bill.
“We have nearly $200 billion in insurance bailouts. Does anybody remember us complaining that Obamacare had insurance bailouts? We now have codified nearly $200 billion. There’s $45 billion in here for opioids,” Paul tells Fox News Sunday. “The bill is just being lit up like a Christmas tree, full of billion-dollar ornaments, and it’s not repeal. We don’t repeal the regulations. We don’t repeal the subsidies.”
“Now, there are Republicans getting so weak-kneed they are saying, ‘oh, we are afraid to repeal the taxes.’ What happened to these people? They all were for repealing Obamacare. Now, there’s virtually no one left,” says Paul.
Paul says the GOP bill should be broken into two. One bill to repeal Obamacare, and one in which Senators can debate what will replace it – removing Republican leaders’ ability to tell Senators they must vote for a big government health care takeover as a condition of “repealing” Obamacare.
“When I say separate the bills, I think they could still be done concurrently,” Paul tells Fox News Sunday. “In fact, I think the moderates won’t vote for repeal, a clean repeal, unless they have some other bill going on simultaneously.”
But he’s not just complaining. Paul is taking action to put together a real bill that actually repeals Obamacare.
To start, Paul went straight to the corner office to sell his plan. Pitching his proposals to President Donald Trump during a series of golf outings, he has won the President’s preliminary support for his free market plan.
Paul stepped up those efforts last Friday, proposing new plans to repeal regulations restricting consumer choices in association health plans.
Speaking in Louisville, Paul said:
“The biggest problem in health insurance is if you are on your own or part of a very small group, you have no leverage for prices, and if someone gets very sick, then you don’t have the protection of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people sharing the risk.
That’s what association health plans do. They let individuals join an association that then buys health insurance as a group. Not just those I mentioned above or those I’m meeting with in Louisville. Literally any group – your church, the NRA, the ACLU. Any group of people who choose to do so could offer cheaper, better health insurance…
…At my urging, and with the help of President Trump, a portion of my association plan is in the Senate bill right now. But it is nowhere near enough and doesn’t fix the problem. I’ll be working with my colleagues to get it right, and I’m hopeful we can.”
In all, the Rand Paul plan to repeal Obamacare has four parts: implementing association plans, repealing bailouts for insurers, repealing health care entitlements disguised as tax credits, and eliminating both the individual mandate and the GOP’s proposed penalty for lapses in insurance coverage.
That has GOP leaders fuming, as massive insurance corporations are among Obamacare’s biggest backers, and among the biggest reasons the GOP’s “repeal” plan looks almost exactly like Obamacare.
In the end, Paul’s success or failure comes down to one thing – whether Republican voters will hold their Senators accountable.