Rand Paul previews Obamacare replacement plan
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday unveiled the broad strokes of his Obamacare replacement package, a measure he again said Republicans must pass “on the same day as we do repeal.”
“We’ve had six years to complain and we have complained — I’ve been one of those complaining about Obamacare,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “The replacement bill that we put together, our goal is to ensure the most amount of people, give access to the most amount of people, at least the amount of cost.”
Republicans have been at loggerheads over the timing and execution of their promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a cheaper alternative that will not disrupt the insurance market and leave millions of Americans without coverage.
“I completely disagree with those who say we either don’t have a plan or have to wait,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday. “There are about 50 replacement bills that have been out there for years.”
On Sunday, Paul gave a preview of his and argued that in requiring insurers to offer more robust plans, Obamacare drove up prices and pushed people out of the market.
“One of the key reforms that we will do is, we’re going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance,” he said. “That means getting rid of the Obamacare mandates on what you can buy. We are going to help people save through health savings accounts, as well as a tax credit.”
Those less expensive options, which were prevalent on the market before the 2010 reform was signed into law, would offer less robust care but also, as supporters argue, be more neatly tailored to what consumers view to be their specific needs.
Under Paul’s program, the bargaining power created by the state and federal exchanges would be replaced with a provision that allows individuals and associations like small businesses to create their own markets.
“There’s no reason why (a business owner) with four employees shouldn’t be able to join with hundreds and hundreds of other businesses that are small to become a large entity to get leverage to bring your prices down,” Paul told Tapper.
He added that those negotiations with insurance companies could also be used to guarantee the availability of policies that “can’t cancel you and guarantees the issue of the insurance even if you get sick.”
Paul’s plan did not directly address the future of states that signed on for expanded Medicaid offered as part of Obamacare. Kentucky, which had a Democratic governor when the law went into effect, was among those to accept the funds. The majority of the more than 400,000 Kentuckians insured under the law were brought into the fold by Medicaid expansion.
“That’s the big question,” Paul said of their fate. “And I don’t think that’s going to be in the replacement aspect.”
The future of Medicaid expansion would then be decided during the repeal process, which will run through a budget reconciliation vote — one that requires only a simple majority for passage.
“What we have to decide is what can be kept and what can’t be kept,” Paul said, suggesting that the states should raise taxes if they want to maintain their current expenditure levels.
He also described the current system as having come about as the result of “deceitfulness” by the Obama administration, which Paul accused of having misled the public about the federal government’s ability to foot the bill.
“So I’d say that if you want to have more Medicaid you should say we’re going to have to have higher taxes to pay for it,” he said.