“I’ve been having discussions with the House Freedom Caucus, and I think they have the 21 votes to stop this,” Paul told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
“If they hang together, if the conservatives hang together, what will happen is they’ll be renewed negotiation, it’ll begin anew,” he said. “And instead of nibbling around the edges, what we’re going to be arguing, or at least this conservative is going to be arguing, is that we need to have a separate repeal and replace, that if you try to stick Paul Ryan's replacement on appeal, conservatives just aren’t going to bite. We're for repeal but we’re really not for Paul Ryan's Obamacare-lite bill.”
Paul has been openly critical of House Republican leadership’s bill from the start, joining the House Freedom Caucus in a press conference denouncing the bill on March 7, the day after its unveiling.
“I don't think they have the votes now,” Paul told Cavuto later. “My prediction is they don't have the votes. If they don't have the votes, conservatives will have earned a seat at the table.”
Asked what would happen if the AHCA cleared the House, Paul told Cavuto, “Well, that's a big question."
“When it comes to the Senate, there’s still a lot of discord on both sides," Paul said. "There’s probably 10 or 15 Republicans who want more subsidies. There’s five or 10 that wants less subsidies That's why I say it's a conundrum, and maybe we get to an impasse, and then when we reach impasse, maybe we separate repeal from replace.”
“Because we have been united in the past for repeal, not so much on replace,” he continued. “And maybe if you allow various groups to have various replacement plans, I’ve got a conservative plan. The moderates could put forward a more robust government plan, an Obamacare-lite plan. And Democrats could frankly put forward Obamacare again.”
“I think if you had various assorted replacement plans, I think you might get everybody to a point where they’re at least happy with the process,” he said.