Rand Paul: Last Man Standing For Obamacare Repeal
“Shame on many in the GOP for promising repeal and instead affirming, keeping, and, in some cases, expanding Obamacare.”
As Senate Republicans stumbled into another week of chaotic delay over the move to repeal and replace Obamacare, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul emerged as the last man standing in the effort to fulfill the number one promise of the Trump administration and the GOP Congress.
Paul is a tireless and consistent critic of the GOP health care bill. He was at it again Sunday when he said he doesn’t think Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the votes now to pass the latest version of the bill.
Once again he reminded his colleagues as well as voters that the real problem is that Republicans won elections on their promise to repeal Obamacare.
“But this bill keeps most of the Obamacare taxes, keeps most of the regulations, keeps most of the subsidies,” Paul said. “And creates something that Republicans have never been for, and that’s a giant insurance bailout superfund.”
Paul then reiterated a favorite theme: If necessary, repeal Obamacare now and replace it later, an approach that has been suggested by President Trump if the Senate fails to break the current logjam.
Paul’s overall critique is a combination of smart policy and honest politics. Paul recently articulated the essence of his critique of the Senate health care bill in an op-ed article in Breitbart News. Following is the text of the article:
I miss the old days, when Republicans stood for repealing Obamacare. Republicans across the country and every member of my caucus campaigned on repeal – often declaring they would tear out Obamacare “root and branch!”
Now too many Republicans are falling all over themselves to stuff hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars into a bill that doesn’t repeal Obamacare and feeds Big Insurance a huge bailout.
Obamacare regulations? Still here. Taxes? Many still in place, totaling hundreds of billions of dollars.
Insurance company bailouts? Those, too. Remember when Republicans complained about Obamacare’s risk corridors? Remember when we called the corridors nothing more than insurance company bailouts? I remember when one prominent GOP candidate during a presidential debate explicitly called out the Obamacare risk corridors as a bailout to insurance companies. Does anyone else?
Now, the Senate GOP plan being put forward is chock full of insurance bailout money – to the tune of nearly $200 billion. Republicans, present company excluded, now support the idea of lowering your insurance premium by giving a subsidy to the insurance company.
Remarkable. If the GOP now supports an insurance stabilization fund to lower insurance prices, maybe they now support a New Car stabilization fund to lower the price of cars. Or maybe the GOP would support an iPhone stabilization fund to lower the price of phones.
The possibilities are limitless once you accept that the federal government should subsidize prices. I remember when Republicans favored the free choice of the marketplace.
The Senate Obamacare bill does not repeal Obamacare. I want to repeat that so everyone realizes why I’ll vote “no” as it stands now:
The Senate Obamacare bill does not repeal Obamacare. Not even close.
In fact, the Senate GOP bill codifies and likely expands many aspects of Obamacare.
The Senate Obamacare-lite bill codifies a federal entitlement to insurance. With the Senate GOP bill, Republicans, for the first time, will signal that they favor a key aspect of Obamacare – federal taxpayer funding of private insurance purchases.
The bill will transfer billions of dollars to people who will then transfer billions of dollars to insurance companies. What a great business model – encourage the federal government to use taxpayer money to buy a private company’s product. Great business model, that is, if you are Big Insurance. Remarkable.
The Senate Obamacare-lite bill does what the Democrats forgot to do – appropriate billions for Obamacare’s cost-sharing reductions, aka subsidies. Really? Republicans are going to fund Obamacare subsidies that the Democrats forgot to fund?
Doesn’t sound much like repeal to me. One might even argue it’s worse than Obamacare-lite because it actually creates a giant superfund to bail out the insurance companies – something even the Democrats feared to do.
I was first elected in the heady days of the Tea Party Tidal Wave, when tens of thousands of citizens gathered on the central city lawn to protest Big Government, Big Debt, and a government takeover of health care.
This citizenry won in four elections. Each time, the GOP establishment told conservatives, “We can’t repeal Obamacare until we have all three branches of government.” Finally, in 2016, that came to pass. Republicans now control all three branches of government.
And . . . the best that is offered is Obamacare-lite: keeping the Obamacare subsidies, keeping some of the Obamacare taxes, creating a giant insurance bailout superfund, and keeping most of the Obamacare regulations.
Shame. Shame on many in the GOP for promising repeal and instead affirming, keeping, and, in some cases, expanding Obamacare. What a shame.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.