(LifeZette) Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday called for dividing the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare into two separate bills, an idea he believes President Donald Trump seems open to considering.
Paul, speaking on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” said the debate has bogged down because “big government Republicans” do not really want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“The problem is conservatives like myself, we want a repeal bill, and we’re not too happy about loading it up with all kinds of Christmas ornaments and federal giveaways,” he said. “And some in our caucus want all these giveaways, and they want to keep Obamacare. But what if we split it into two bills?”
The first bill would reform Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act regulations and tax increases, while the second would have “all the bells and whistles and free goodies” favored by Democrats and some Republicans. He said a clean repeal might get “yes” votes from all 52 Republicans.
“In the end, we may be able to get repeal that way,” he said.
Asked about polls showing growing numbers of Americans against getting rid of Obamacare, Paul laid the blame squarely at the feet of Washington Republicans.
“The Establishment Republicans in Washington have no clue how to sell freedom,” he said.
The only way to reduce insurance premiums — and extend coverage to the millions of people left behind under Obamacare — is to give buyers and sellers the freedom to choose from a variety of different plans, Paul said.
“You got to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance,” he said. “You’ve got to get rid of all the Obamacare regulations.”
Paul noted a rumor that Senate Republican leaders are considering adding $45 billion to fight the opioid addiction epidemic, “without any clue as to what you would do with that enormous amount of money. You could buy a small state.”
Opponents of the repeal efforts have hammered away at the idea — that people with pre-existing medical problems will be shut out of insurance of forced to pay more than they can afford.
Paul said about 40 percent of the people get insurance through Medicare and Medicaid, and are protected. Of the rest, about 80 percent have group insurance through employers, and also are protected through a combination of market leverage and laws on the books before Obamacare.
To protect the rest, Paul reiterated an idea he has been pushing for months — let people from co-ops that would have better negotiating power. For instance, he said, a family farmer buying insurance for his family has little leverage in the marketplace. But if he could join with hundreds of thousands of farmers across the country, he could get the best rates available to large corporations.
Trump, Paul said, seems receptive to a lot of these ideas.
“I find the president open, actually, open to making the bill better, open to making it more conservative,” he said. “And probably more open to negotiation. We still have had no real outreach as far as negotiating with us from anybody in the Senate leadership.”
Republished with permission from LifeZette via iCopyright license.