Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says Americans should prepare to get hit with prohibitively expensive premiums and deductibles as the Affordable Care Act unfolds in the coming months.
"I can remember being 26 years old making about $26,000 a year and not having insurance for a while and I paid about $1 a day, but it probably had a $5,000 deductible on it," Paul told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Now you're going to get a $5,000 to $6,000 deductible, [which] covers everything under the sun … but it's very expensive. It's not a cheap policy. We're all going to get to pay the full cost of these things if you're not getting the subsidies. They're all going to be very expensive plans."
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Paul is troubled by the ongoing technical glitches plaguing the Affordable Care Act's website, which countless Americans seeking health insurance have been unable to navigate.
"The other great irony of this thing is you know there's going to be hundreds of millions of dollars [being spent] … to get people to sign up," he said. "If people won't sign up for something that's free for a lot of people, if you can't convince people you're giving them something and they won't sign up for it, I can't imagine how it's going to succeed."
The Republican senator said the government has called on Verizon to help repair the troubled website because of its already close relationship with the communications giant, which has worked with the National Security Agency in handing over phone records.
"You know why Verizon is getting involved, they already have an arrangement. They work for the government," Paul said.
"Since [they are] already working with the NSA, they thought that'd be an easy arrangement to set up."
Paul recently introduced legislation to reform the NSA, which has been under fire after revelations that it has collected the phone records and emails of millions of Americans.
"British soldiers were coming into our house with general warrants not specific to the name or the person who lived there. They were just willy-nilly going in anyone's house. So we wrote the Fourth Amendment to prevent that," Paul said.
"But now the government is using warrants, one warrant, a single warrant, to get all of the phone calls from Verizon or all of the searches from Google and you can't do that. That goes against everything the Fourth Amendment stands for."
But he noted that any changes made to the procedures of the NSA will have to be based on "a new understanding" of the Constitution.
"In the past, the Supreme Court has said that once you give up your records to a third party, they don't get Fourth Amendment protection," he said.
"But I absolutely disagree with that because what I spend on my Visa, what I have in my bank records is my information. Unless you think I've committed a crime or unless you think a judge can say there's probable cause, I don't think you should be looking at someone's banking records, their Visa records, or their phone records."
Paul said Republicans failed in their efforts to negotiate with President Barack Obama on the federal budget and debt ceiling crises because GOP lawmakers were splintered.
"The president knew from the very beginning because there were many Republicans saying they didn't like the strategy. And so when we weren't united, there wasn't much chance of having any leverage," Paul said.
"But I would say, in defense of doing something, that we just can't give a blank check to the president. We can't just say, borrow whatever you want. The country has a really big problem. We're borrowing $1 million a minute. We can't keep doing this. It's unsustainable.
"So it's wrong to give him a blank check, but then again … we have to decide how long we are willing to carry out something like a shutdown or a debt ceiling ... because some bad things do happen. The monuments get closed, some checks eventually don't go out, and potentially, there could be a stock market reaction to it."
He said "about half" of the Republican caucus was opposed to allowing a government shutdown.
"That half of the caucus was never going to follow through with staying shut down for a couple of months or seeing if the president would change," he said.
But he is not sure what will happen early next year when the new budget and debt ceiling deals have to be hammered out.
"I'm not sure the president will change in a month or two, so I'm not sure he doesn't have a position because, as the shutdown lengthens, the Republicans do catch more of the blame. So I'm not sure it is in the best interest," he said.
"[Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell's in a tough position. He has to decide what's best, what the caucus wants, and also what's best as far as the Republican Party with regard to a shutdown. He'd be the first to admit it wasn't a great deal. It was a deal only just to get government back open again.
"But the only thing we've done positive in the last couple of years, actually, has been the sequester."
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