After meeting with President Trump Tuesday afternoon, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., gave an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto in which he said that the president is open-minded about improvements to make the Senate version of the Obamacare bill more of a repeal.
“I think we had a good discussion, and I told the president I’m open to supporting it, but it has to get better and it has to be more of a repeal bill,” Paul said. “We keep too many of the regulations, we keep too many of the subsidies, and we create a new federal fund to subsidize insurance companies. So we’ve got to look at all of that and we have to ask the people who elected us on repealing Obamacare if this bill is really repeal.”
“I thought the president was very open-minded,” Paul said, “but everybody’s got to be open to making the bill more of a repeal bill and less of a big-government bill.”
Sen. Paul said that the president understands that regulations drive up prices and that the Obamacare insurance mandates are making insurance premiums unaffordable and causing the death spiral in insurance markets. Paul characterized President Trump as receptive to his suggestions on how to improve the bill, telling Cavuto “I didn’t get strong objections from him.”
“We have to get something that really works because – what I did tell him is ‘Look, I’ve been a doctor for twenty-some odd years, and I saw health care before Obamacare not working very well. I saw Obamacare come on and make it work even less well. I think there is some fundamental aspects to health care we have to try to fix and if we don’t fix them but we gain ownership of it, I think there is a big price to pay …’”
Paul, one of four GOP Senators opposing the Better Care Reconciliation Act on grounds that it does not go far enough to repeal Obamacare, told Cavuto that GOP leadership has not given conservatives feedback on their concerns.
“We haven’t had any feedback from leadership on their being open to changing any parts of the bill. In order for there to be negotiation, there has to be dialogue.”
Sen. Paul said he “formalized” their recommendations for the bill in writing this afternoon and will send them to Senate leadership and the president.
“I think this thing still could be done, but we have to keep our promise to the Republican voters as well as all voters that we were going to repeal the disaster that is Obamacare. But, in order to get rid of the high prices of Obamacare, you have to repeal the regulations. And if we tinker around the edge with one or two regulations, the prices won’t come down and guess who they’re gonna blame? The Republicans. So we gotta fix it, we gotta really repeal it.”
Just came from WH. @realDonaldTrump is open to making bill better. Is Senate leadership?— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 27, 2017
Creating a compromise the majority of the Senate can vote for is easier said than done. Two more Republican senators, Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Shelley Moore-Capito, R-W.Va., announced their opposition to the Senate Obamacare bill Tuesday over concerns that changes to Medicaid would cause individuals to lose health insurance coverage. The Obamacare vote has been delayed by Senate leadership.
President Trump invited Senate Republicans to an emergency meeting at the White House in an attempt to find a deal that can get 50 votes in the Senate. The difficulty is that any compromise that assuages the concerns of moderates by preserving Medicaid will alienate conservatives who want to see repeal go farther.
Senator Paul believes it’s important for conservatives not to back down.
“I think it’s important that some of us stand firm now,” Paul said. “Now is the time to change the bill and I think by my steadfastness in being for repeal, I think I can get this bill to look more like repeal before it goes through.”