Rand Paul: GOP only ‘united’ on repealing Obamacare — not replacing it

·Senior National Affairs Reporter
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., criticizes the House Republican healthcare reform plan as
Sen. Rand Paul criticizes the House Republican health care reform plan as “Obamacare light” during a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 7, 2017. (Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that he objected to what he called the “Obamacare-lite” bill unveiled by House leadership Monday and believes that Congress should move to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act before replacing it.

“There’s one thing that’s united Republicans in 2010 when we won the House, in 2014 when we won the Senate and in 2016 when we won the White House … that is complete repeal. Clean repeal,” Paul said.

Paul and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, are introducing companion bills in the House and Senate on Tuesday that fully repeal Obamacare. The move appears to be a step back for Republicans, who have been arguing since President Trump’s victory about how best to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ conservative Freedom Caucus, who joined Paul at the press conference, criticized the House leadership bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare for keeping much of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. They were also critical of the bill for creating tax credits for people who make less than $75,000 to help them buy health insurance, which they refer to as a new entitlement program.

Earlier this year, Paul said he believed that repeal and replace should happen “simultaneously.” The senator said he has not changed his opinion on that but admitted that he and other Republican members have been able to agree only on the fact that the law should be repealed — not on how to provide health care.

“We have to admit we are divided on replacement,” Paul said.

Paul said he believes the repeal and replace bills should be separate.

“How about using the bill we all supported and then replace it with something we actually believe will lower health care costs,” said Jordan.

Trump, meanwhile, told reporters Tuesday that he believed the Obamacare replacement bill would pass “very quickly.” Trump has thrown his support behind the House bill while also declaring it now open to “review and negotiation.”

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