Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that he'll not only skip tonight's Trump rally in Lexington to sell the AHCA, but that he expects the Trumpcare bill won't even pass the House, let alone the Senate, and that then the "real negotiations" will get underway.
Paul, R-Bowling Green, spoke to the St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce several hours before President Donald Trump was scheduled to tout the GOP plan to replace Obamacare Monday night in nearby Freedom Hall.
Paul said he would not attend Trump’s rally, which is his first visit to Kentucky as president.
“I have work to do in Washington,” Paul told reporters. In contrast, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scheduled to welcome the president to Louisville.
Paul has been at the forefront of opposition to the House GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, calling the proposal “Obamacare lite.”
The major problem with the House plan, Paul said, is its continued reliance on an individual insurance market.
He said President Barack Obama tried to fix the individual insurance market by mandating insurance coverage, but not enough young people bought insurance.
“I want it gone,” Paul said of the individual market.
In its place, Paul envisions a network of associations that individuals could join to get insurance coverage.
“I would legalize the ability for you to join an association,” Paul said, noting that the St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce has an association health plan.
“I would like to legalize that you could join with other chambers, national chambers and have an insurance association,” he said, predicting more people would have insurance at lower costs.
Paul also advocated more use of health savings accounts, arguing they would also help lower costs.
An audience member asked Paul if he would want to keep the popular provision in the Affordable Care Act that says people with pre-existing health conditions could not be denied health insurance. The GOP health plan contains the same protection.
Paul responded by saying that joining an insurance group would take care of the problem. If a person does not do that, he said, Medicaid could be a back-up.
“It’s capitalism that will bring down health care costs,” he said.
Of course Rand Paul is predicting that the bill won't get past the House, he really doesn't want to take a vote on this bill. It's why he's doing everything he can to rile up the House GOP Freedom Caucus to reject the bill before he's forced to vote on taking Medicaid away from 10% of Kentucky, or defying Trump in a state that he won by 16 points.
I'm not sure why Rand is in panic mode, he literally just won re-election in November and won't be up again until 2022 (and by then Trump will hopefully be long gone.) But hey, the bill is pretty awful, and he knows it.
The stuff he's talking about replacing Obamacare with? It has no chance, but clearly he thinks it will after the bill dies screaming in the House.
We'll see how true that is.