Kentucky Senator Rand Paul spoke eloquently on the ongoing issue of repealing and replacing Obamacare Wednesday, warning that the replacement legislation is at risk of being hijacked by government programs.
“People are trying to make it too elaborate now, and they’re adding in some government programs that I object to.” Paul noted in an interview with Fox News.
“We can be done in a week with repeal of Obamacare, if they’ll give us the repeal we voted previously.” Paul added, warning that it was this kind of tampering that doomed Obamacare to begin with.
“So, for example, if you give people back money that they did not pay in taxes, that is basically an entitlement program.” Paul explained.
“So, if you have a refundable tax credit, and you give everybody back money they did not pay in taxes, and you say we’re going to help you with your health insurance with that, how is that different than Obamacare subsidies?” the Senator added.
“We just call them tax credits instead of subsidies, but they’re the same thing. It’s government money, of which there’s a shortage of.” Paul urged.
Paul is adamant that the original repeal legislation, which he oversaw, is the only way to jettison Obamacare, and that the replacement of the program needs to be done separately.
“So I think there is agreement on the previous repeal, put that forward, and we’re done in ten minutes, I promise you. put forward the repeal we had that we all voted on. we’re done in ten minutes. The replacement can be done as a separate bill, and it’s going to require more consensus, and frankly it’s going to require Democrats to vote for. but many of the items that we have disagreement on, put them in a separate package and we’re done with. ” Paul said.
The Senator then touted his own replacement healthcare bill, saying it would lower costs and save Americans money.
“We do have a replacement bill, and I would put it forward on the exact same day. And this replacement bill that we have, would lower insurance cost. That’s what the president mentioned in his speech. We want less expensive insurance for everybody in the country.” Paul stated.
He further explained the nuances of his replacement bill:
“The other aspect of our plan that is fascinating is that we will not have anybody left in the individual market. Everybody in the individual market will be able to join an association, which is group insurance, which is protected for pre-existing conditions, and also gets you a cheaper price. We will have people in associations that may be, you know, the Farm Bureau, for example, if the Farm Bureau did this nationally, they would have a couple hundred thousand people buying insurance, but one person would negotiate a lower rate for everybody, and they would be in a group insurance policy.”
Paul further noted that “Insurance companies would hate it.” because the program would “empower the consumer.”
“We have a replacement plan, but it’s not a government plan. It’s a free market plan.” Paul urged.
Republicans have come under increasing criticism for secrecy over the ins and outs of the replacement healthcare bill.
The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House Energy and Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room, one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said. Nobody will be given copies to take with them.
Party leaders are concerned that conservatives will find the new bill too unappealing because the intricacies will mean it ends up costing as much if not more than Obamacare.