On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), writing for Rare.us, criticized his fellow Republicans in Congress for failing to truly repeal Obamacare as they repeatedly promised to do on the campaign trail.
Paul has exhibited consistent disapproval of the GOP's repeal and replace bill — known as the American Health Care Act. Upon reading the GOP's first "repeal and replace" bill, Paul referred to it as Obamacare Lite, and said frankly that the bill "will not pass." That version of the bill was ultimately defeated by a coalition of moderates and conservatives in the House GOP caucus, but a subsequent revision of the bill narrowly passed, and has now been sent to the Senate for consideration.
Paul and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) introduced their own repeal legislation into the Senate and House, respectively, while the House was debating the GOP's first attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Their bill was a strict repeal of Obamacare with a two-year grace period for those enrolled.
Paul's opposition to the GOP's approach to dealing with Obamacare caused a rift within the GOP, with Paul and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) exchanging sharp words with one another during the course media interviews.
Despite the fact that Jordan and his Freedom Caucus voted for the GOP's second version of the AHCA, Paul's view on the GOP's repeal and replace efforts are still sour.
"Is the current proposal Obamacare Lite?" Paul asked. "Well, you decide."
"How much Obamacare does the House bill keep? Well, if you add up the subsidies of Obamacare over a six-year period (2020-26), you spend $624 billion," Paul wrote. "If you add up the Republican plan’s subsidies over the same period, you spend $588 billion. So, the GOP plan keeps over 90 percent of the Obamacare subsidies."
Paul also added some harsh words about what he considers the diminished bravery of the Republican party, mentioning their broken promise of a full repeal, and lack of faith in the capitalist system.
"What happened to those bold promises to take Obamacare and rip it out, root and branch? I’m not exactly sure what happened to our nerve, but I think it can be best described as many Republicans having insufficient confidence in the miracle of the marketplace, in the miracle that is capitalism, in the miracle that made America great," Paul wrote.
"Republicans, like Democrats, allow the muck of Washington’s status quo to cloud their judgment," the Kentucky senator said. "Republicans get trapped into believing the federal government must 'fix' the insurance markets instead of championing the proposition that free minds and free markets are the surest path to supplying the most goods to the most people."
Paul said that instead of trying to fix Obamacare, "which for all practical purposes is beyond fixing," government should try to legalize better alternatives to Obamacare utilizing the free market, such as "buying groups."
"We need to immediately legalize nationwide buying groups to allow people to pool together to get cheaper insurance and better terms," Paul wrote. "Buying groups would make the consumer king again and put the big insurance companies on notice that the taxpayer will no longer be their patsy."
Paul said that he has spoken to President Donald Trump about buying groups, which he says would allow people to buy inexpensive insurance that would cover the 20 million people that did not qualify for Obamacare.
A practice currently gaining steam among doctors is the utilization of the free market to open "direct primary care" clinics that survive solely of the loyalty of their own patients. These clinics do not take insurance, but instead require a $50 monthly fee that will cover basic medical needs such as prescriptions, check-ups, and blood work.