Sen. Rand Paul told CNN’s ‘Newsroom’ Monday that while he is currently negotiating with President Donald Trump on the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA), which aims to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Senate leadership is refusing to negotiate.
Sen. Paul stated that he had talked on the phone with the President about the bill over the weekend.
“We had an extensive discussion about all of the ramifications, which way the leadership’s taking it, which way the conservatives want to take it, which way the moderates want to take it, and what I told him that would get me on board, and I think we had a very frank discussion about this. I told him if we narrow the focus – let’s just say we aren’t going to fix everything. In fact, I don’t think everything is fixable in the health care bill. Let’s say we’re going to repeal as much as we can of Obamacare, and then we’re going to work with the Democrats over the next six months to try to fix any remaining problems. I think once it’s no longer a debate about repeal, once it’s a debate later on about how we fix health care, then maybe there could be some bi-partisan coming together, but Obamacare is in such terrible strait that we should try to repeal as much as we can now – the taxes, the regulations and see if we can do something to patch up Medicaid, until we can get to a position where we can fix it.”
“So, far the Senate leadership is not negotiating with our office,” Sen. Paul went on to say. “I’m trying to negotiate with the President, but really the President is going to have to tell leadership it’s going to have to negotiate with some of us who don’t see this bill as being good for the country.”
Paul opposes many of Obamacare’s regulations and subsidies that are not repealed in the AHCA, as well as a new subsidy which the bill introduces called the Patient and State Stability Fund. The legislation is said to be up for a Senate vote later this week.
The lack of engagement by Senate leadership is somewhat surprising, given Sen. Paul is from the same state as the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the two Senators have previously enjoyed a cordial relationship.
In the aftermath of the release of a CBO report alleging that premiums would rise substantially under the new legislation, Sen. Paul told reporters that he “won’t vote to proceed [AHCA] unless the bill changes.”