Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a leading conservative in the U.S. Senate and driving force on the healthcare debate that has played out this year, told Breitbart News exclusively on Tuesday he is pleased that the U.S. Senate is going to move forward on efforts to pass a clean partial repeal of Obamacare.
Paul, one of the four GOP U.S. Senators who publicly opposed the Senate health bill that aimed to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare leading to its eventual demise, has been driving debate on healthcare in the U.S. Congress.
In the wake of the Senate bill’s ultimate failure on Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump both publicly backed the idea he’s been pushing publicly for months now: That Congress should pass a clean repeal of Obamacare now, the bill they did in fact pass in 2015, then worry about the replacement later. Former President Barack Obama vetoed that bill then, but President Trump would sign it.
“I’m encouraged that we’re moving towards a clean repeal,” Paul told Breitbart News. “I’ve been advocating for some time that an insurance company bailout is not what we should be voting on. So now we’ve gotten rid of the insurance company bailout and we’re going to vote on what we voted on in 2015. It’s a partial repeal, I wish we were voting on full repeal, but this is a compromise I’m willing to make and that is to vote on a partial repeal. It won’t fix everything, but it’s the very least they ought to do. Any senator who voted for this in 2015, if they’re not willing to vote for it they need to explain to the voters at home why they’re not for full repeal.”
As of now, House Speaker Paul Ryan is resisting efforts to repeal Obamacare in a clean repeal bill while doing a replacement bill separately—despite calls from House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) for the House to join McConnell’s Senate and President Trump in backing the play.
Ryan’s approval ratings have plummeted as he has failed to succeed in helping President Trump’s agenda this year. In addition, three GOP senators—Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)—are publicly opposing the 2015 bill. Two of them, Capito and Murkowski, actually previously voted for the 2015 bill that Obama vetoed—so it is unlikely they would vote against the exact same bill they previously supported if and when it comes to the floor.
Paul told Breitbart News that he believes it will require a very public explanation from any Republican who previously voted for the bill but turns on it and votes against it in the end.
“I think everyone who promised a vote to repeal Obamacare ought to do it, particularly those who voted for an identical bill two years ago,” Paul said. “They should keep their word and keeping their word means voting consistent with what they promised and also consistent with the way they voted previously.”
Paul added in his latest exclusive interview with Breitbart News that this plan—voting on the 2015 bill again—is only a start and the “very least we should do.”
“Those who made a promise to repeal Obamacare ought to be put on the spot, we should have the vote without fail as soon as possible,” Paul said. “Let’s have the vote and then people can explain their positions, but let’s have a vote on this. I think it will be disappointing if people who once upon a time voted to repeal Obamacare now vote to keep it.”
He also said that this will not “completely fix” all the problems that Obamacare has caused, and that Obamacare “lives on” forever “sort of like the undead.”
“None of this will completely fix the disaster that is Obamacare,” Paul said. “Obamacare lives on. It’s sort of like the undead. The Obamacare continues, and it will continue to wreak havoc. There will continue to be a death spiral. There will continue to be people without insurance. There will continue to be people with problems of a monopoly in the insurance market. This is not an ultimate fix. This is the beginning and it’s a small, baby step towards partial repeal and it’s the very least we can do.”
Paul also called on the senators who previously voted for this legislation to partially repeal Obamacare—Capito and Murkowski—to explain themselves to the public and their constituents.
“I think you have to get an explanation from them because I can’t really explain their thought process,” Paul said. “All I can really say is this is partial repeal, and if you voted for it previously and you change your vote you’re going to have some explaining to do. I think that this is the least we can do. I’m for complete repeal. This is partial repeal, this is a compromise. It does not fix all of the problems and some people may oppose it because it doesn’t fix all of the problems. However, the problems stem from Obamacare. We’re trying to repeal part of the problem. We should go further and repeal the whole thing which I think would fix the situation, but if people are not willing to go further then this is the least we should do and that is to vote for this partial repeal.”