Tags: Rand Paul | Healthcare | Freedom Caucus

Sen. Rand Paul: Better Healthcare Option Could Change Freedom Caucus' Mind

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Mar 2017 11:42 AM

Last-minute negotiations over the American Health Care Act could lead reluctant members of the House Freedom Caucus to vote for the reform measure, but it would take changing the bill into one that would "actually lower insurance rates," Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday.

"The most visible problem with Obamacare is the spiraling upwards premiums in the individual market," the Kentucky Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. 

"We need to do something to bring those prices down, and that means you have to repeal the insurance mandates of Obamacare, and also we have to provide hope for the millions of people in the individual market that we are going to give them something better."

Paul, who calls the AHCA "Obamacare-lite," advocates allowing people participating in the individual healthcare marketplaces to be able to insurance through group plans as one way to bring down costs.

"Imagine 37 million people in AARP having one person negotiate their rate," said Paul. "Everybody talks about how drug prices could come down through leverage, and insurance prices could come down through leveraged prices as well. We need to offer something that is hopeful to people and we are not doing that yet."

To make the ACHA a "good bill and have good stuff in it," many of the "Obamacare-lite" items can be removed that House Speaker Paul Ryan wants, continued Paul, including that the new legislation allows just half as many subsidies as Obamacare did.

"Get rid of the the regulations and offer people hope by joining a buying group, and do it through budget reconciliation," said Paul, pointing out that Vice President Mike Pence can, while acting as Senate President, rule that the bill is reconcilable.

"If we have the guts to do it, and I don't know if we have the guts to do it, we have the power to do it," said Paul.

"They say the chair rules and not the parliamentarian. The vice president should come to the Senate and say we are getting rid of all of the Obamacare regulations, and we are also going to replace it with buying groups, and we have something positive we could offer."

Meanwhile, Paul said he believes President Donald Trump is backing the AHCA because he's been told things by House leaders that "frankly are not accurate."

"He has been told this is the only vehicle, and Paul Ryan has been saying it for weeks, it's a binary choice, you take it and it's my way or the highway," said Paul. "I think he has been fed a bill of goods on this thing, and there's a bill we could pass that would bring down costs and this bill doesn't do it.

"I have fought against Obamacare for years and I am a physician and I want to repeal it, but not with replace it with something that doesn't work or is just a high."

Paul noted that as a surgeon who has done charity work for his whole career, he has a great deal of sympathy for people who can't afford insurance, but he wants a better program, not just another government plan.

"Medicaid doesn't work," said Paul, and many doctors don't take the paln because they are not paid well through it. "The better health insurance is a good job and good insurance, and if you have to work for a small employer, let's let you join a large group."

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Politics
Last-minute negotiations over the American Health Care Act could lead reluctant members of the House Freedom Caucus to vote for the reform measure, but it would take changing the bill into one that would "actually lower insurance rates," Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday.
Rand Paul, Healthcare, Freedom Caucus
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2017-42-22
Wednesday, 22 Mar 2017 11:42 AM
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