Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has played a very nuanced game regarding health care negotiations. After positioning himself for months as the leading hard-liner for Obamacare repeal, Paul eventually conceded to allow debate and voted affirmatively on a lackluster bare-bones repeal that failed this morning. His manuevering ultimately paid off, as neoconservatives were ultimately for stopping any kind of Obamacare repeal from taking place.
It was Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a frequent foil of Paul and his father, who ultimately cast the deciding vote against Obamacare repeal. He was joined by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as the defectors responsible for handing a huge political victory over to Democrats on a silver platter.
“What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions?” McCain said in a direct appeal to Democrats. “We’re not getting much done apart. I don’t think any of us feels very proud of our incapacity. Merely preventing your political opponents from doing what they want isn’t the most inspiring work. There’s greater satisfaction in respecting our differences, but not letting them prevent agreements that don’t require abandonment of core principles, agreements made in good faith that help improve lives and protect the American people.”
McCain put his neck out there to shield other turncoat Senators from going on the record against Obamacare repeal. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) joined McCain for a bizarre press conference yesterday morning in which the senators indicated that they would only support “skinny repeal” if they could be assured by the House that it would not pass through that chamber. Unable to receive those assurances, McCain, whose health is rapidly waning, presumably took one for the team and allowed his spineless colleagues to vote “yes” while knowing it would not pass.
While the Republicans are deservedly under intense scrutiny for this fiasco, Paul–having pushed for free market solutions every step of the way while showing that he would play ball for a less-than-ideal solution–is left smelling like roses. After the vote, Paul laid out the cold realities in an op/ed for Rare that face Americans in lieu of this health care failure.
“Premiums will continue to skyrocket. Insurers will continue to exit. The death spiral of Obamacare will continue,” Paul said. “Democrats will accelerate calls for an insurance bailout, and compliant, big government Republicans will join with Democrats to foist upon America more federal intervention into what should be a very private and personal matter. Sad.”
Hopefully, Paul’s hard work exposing the Republican traitors will mean electoral consequences for those individuals in the near future. Otherwise, more of the same is to be expected from Congress, and the common sense reforms that are necessary will continue to be haphazardly dismissed.
“Libertarian enthusiasts and optimists will hope that technology and disruptive Uber-like forces will surmount the grip of pols who lack sufficient confidence in what made America great: freedom, freedom of choice unfettered and unchained,” Paul said.
“We can only hope so.”