President Donald Trump has worked with GOP establishment leaders, more commonly referred to as the swamp, on healthcare reform repeatedly to no avail. The latest attempts to bailout Obamacare have been universally reviled, drawing ire from conservatives, moderates, and liberal Democrats.
One of the primary conservatives standing in opposition to Obamacare bailout legislation is Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) led the way against bailing out Obamacare with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) right behind him. Lee has now followed suit by offering a complete dismissal of any bipartisan agreements to bail out Obamacare.
One of Lee’s senior aides told the Washington Examiner last week that the conservative lawmaker had “zero interest in the Alexander-Murray bailout bill.” Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are working hand-in-hand to save subsidizes for insurance companies and keep Obamacare intact, a move staunchly opposed by conservatives in the legislature.
“The American people did not send us here to bail out insurance companies,” Sen. Cruz said. “They sent us here to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Previously, the reform bill being discussed was the Graham-Cassidy bill. This legislation was effectively killed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who felt the bill went too far in repealing Obamacare and refused to support it. Additionally, there was conservative push-back against Graham-Cassidy from lawmakers who believed the legislation did not go far enough in repealing Obamacare.
“My promise to the voters was to repeal Obamacare – not block grant and keep Obamacare,” Sen. Paul said. “If Obamacare were truly repealed, this entire trillion dollars would not be spent. This is the primary obstacle to my support, and only a significant reassessment of this trillion-dollar spending regime would get my support.”
With Paul, Cruz and now Lee operating as a cohesive bloc pushing back against deals to bail out Obamacare, that will make it difficult for Trump and GOP party leadership to maneuver as they attempt to ‘repeal and replace’ unless the replacement is a solution that is conservative and pro-market.