Rand Paul: Hard To Pass Health Bill Because Left And Right Hate It

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during an event at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall in Chicago on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
June 29, 2017 9:50 a.m.

Only 20 to 25 percent of lawmakers in the Senate like the Republican’s health care bill, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Thursday morning during an appearance on “Morning Joe.”

“Well, let’s see. Hm. All the Democrats hate it, and half the Republicans hate it. That means 20 to 25 percent of the people like it,” he said, when asked if the plan was fixable. “It’s got to get better.”

He thinks the reason there’s been such a divide between Republicans on the health care bill is because there was a lack of communication in his party.

“For years and years, Republicans said, ‘We’re for repealing it, ripping it out root and branch.’ Then when we got into the discussion, we discovered that about a third of our caucus wants to keep large portions of Obamacare,” he said. “So the bill we currently have before us keeps the Obamacare subsidies, keeps 10 out of 12 of the Obamacare regulations and actually preserves Medicaid expansion forever. The left hates it because they don’t believe any of that.

Some on the right hate it too, he said, because “we see this as too much big government in an era” where the national deficit is so high.

“So there’s concerns on the right and left side. When the right and the left hate something, you really have difficulty I think getting any popular support,” he said.

He offered a solution that he thinks might get both his Republican and Democratic colleagues onboard with the plan, suggesting the Senate should write two different plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“I think if we split it in two pieces, we pass one that’s more, looks like repeal that conservatives like. The other you load up with Christmas ornaments, gifts, money, pile money on it that the Democrats will vote for and some of the Republicans will vote for,” he said. “Then I think both will end up passing. It may not be completely good for the country. You at least get the repeal that way.”

When pressed on the issue of Medicaid cuts, Paul said the entitlement isn’t going away under the current plan.

“Medicaid expansion never goes away, states are forced to pay for it. CBO may say ‘States won’t pay for it,’ so maybe less people will have Medicaid. I think under the law, I don’t believe it denies anybody on Medicaid, Medicaid,” he said. “That’s why I think the bill is exceedingly generous. … There’s never less money in Medicaid, it’s less of an increase each year.”

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