The GOP Senate health care plan was released on Thursday, and a few hours later, Sen. Rand Paul joined Republican Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson in saying they could not vote for the bill in its current form.
The reason? It keeps too much of what has failed with Obamacare.
Paul responded, “I don’t think there is anybody in America that is more against Obamacare than myself. I just didn’t run on Obamacare-Lite.”
“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,” Paul said.
The aspects of the bill Paul cites are exactly what most Republicans spent the last few years railing against, and that message resonated precisely because the Affordable Care Act was harming so many people by raising their premiums.
Virtually every Republican vowed to “repeal” Obamacare in 2016 and before, however that is defined. Now that Republicans are in power, is their own version of the Affordable Care Act really the best they can do?
And what are they really trying to accomplish? President Trump and Republican leaders want to pass this bill so they can hold it up as a trophy and say they get things done.
That’s not a good enough reason to pass a bad bill.
How health care policy is crafted should far outweigh any eagerness for bragging rights, particularly on an issue this important and with such long term ramifications.
When Paul introduced his “Read the Bills” legislation on Wednesday — which would make legislators actually read what they’re voting on — the senator said in a statement, “Legislation is too often shoved through Congress without proper hearings, amendments, or debate, as the secrecy surrounding the Senate’s health care bill and the pressure to vote for it with little time to fully evaluate the proposal once again remind us.”
“If we are to answer to the American people, it is imperative we pay close attention to the legislation we pass,” Paul added.
Is this really too much to ask? Is it really Paul and other senators who oppose the current bill who are being unreasonable, as opposed to a Republican majority that emphasizes haste over quality?
Rare’s Matt Purple noted Thursday, “After years of complaining about how Obamacare was hatched with no transparency, Republicans have now produced a bill that was devised in secret, released in haste and will be voted on before it can be digested.”
Disclosure: I co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Sen. Rand Paul.