Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will be voting ‘nay’ on the GOP Senate health care bill as written, calling it “Obamacare Lite.”
In a joint press release with Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), Paul announced that he will not be supporting the bill for a “variety of reasons.”
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the release reads.
“There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”
Paul is honoring his earlier statements indicating that he would not support a bill that creates new entitlements.
Paul later explained his decision to reporters.
“The four of us have said we can’t support the bill in its current iteration,” Paul said.
“I don’t think there is anybody in America that is more against Obamacare than myself. I’ve seen the ravages of it,” Paul said. “I’ve traveled to 42 different states running on the repeal of Obamacare.”
“I just didn’t run on Obamacare-Lite,” he continued. “I didn’t run on replacing it with more government programs. I didn’t run on allowing the death spiral of Obamacare to continue just to allow it to be subsidized with taxpayer money.”
“There is no money to keep subsidizing insurance. There is no money to expand Medicaid unless you want to raise taxes. We’re actually cutting taxes.” “You have to be honest with people. […] I think we can do better than this. My hope is not to defeat the bill but to make the bill better.”
“Now the discussion begins,” Paul said, adding that without the 50 votes needed to pass the bill, maybe the discussion could now begin “in earnest.”
When asked if there was enough time to add an amendment to the bill that would please him, Paul seemed optimistic about everyone being amenable to change.
“We were supposed to be given a draft,” he said. “This is supposedly a draft form. At our meeting this morning, everyone said they were still open to changes. You only get changes if you show you have the power to not vote for current bill.”
When asked if he believed a vote would happen this next week, Paul said that it “seemed like a short time.”
“I’ve been in favor of reading the bills before we pass them. It’s on my desk, but I haven’t gotten started yet.”
Paul also referenced his resolution, adding that with that in mind, it would take six or seven days to read the bill, allowing for one day per 20 pages.
“We need to negotiate over what’s good, what’s bad and what we can get in the bill to make it better,” he concluded.