Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) hosted a Q&A session on Wednesday addressing his opposition to the Senate Republican healthcare bill.
Paul voiced his frustration at his conservative colleagues for failing to keep their promise on repealing Obamacare, arguing that Republicans have all three branches in their control, and they need to keep their promise and fully repeal Obamacare once and for all. Paul observed that many of his colleagues don’t want to repeal Obamacare, they are simply content with keeping it.
Paul says that the current Senate healthcare bill keeps “more than half” of Obamacare’s taxes, subsidies and regulations. The bill would also create an enormous insurance bailout “superfund.”
“The fundamental problem with Obamacare is this, you add regulations or mandates to insurance […] they cost money,” Paul said. “When you add these insurance mandates as Obamacare did, it chases the young health people out of the market.”
Paul also discussed “adverse selection,” emphasizing that sick people get sicker when young and healthy individuals are booted out of the market because of costs. This in turn makes the costs increase for those who are sick, leaving them unable to afford the care they need. Paul said that under the “death spiral” of Obamacare, an “astronomic escalation of premiums” occurred.
“Prices always go up under a monopoly,” Paul said, adding that the Republican healthcare bill maintained the “death spiral.”
Paul also illustrated the escalation of healthcare costs for single individuals, giving an example of a single person making $30,000 a year having to spend $10,000 on health insurance. “Nobody can afford to spend a third of their gross income on insurance,” Paul said. “Sometimes it’s not even deductible.”
Paul also criticized the insurance company subsidies, calling the bailout a “superfund.”
“We promised to repeal Obamacare,” he said. “We didn’t promise to create this massive insurance bailout superfund.”
Paul also said that he supports a full repeal of Obamacare, “We voted for a partial repeal in 2015,” Paul emphasized, adding that only one Republican Senator voted against partial repeal in 2015. Paul said that Republicans have “lost their nerve,” when it comes to fully repealing Obamacare.
“They’re weak-kneed, and they’re not willing to really vote to repeal Obamacare anymore. This is sad. We won four elections on it. We promised the voters we would repeal it. No one in America wants to repeal Obamacare more than I do,” he said.
Paul then argued that the free market is best suited to lower premium costs after a full repeal of Obamacare.
“If you repealed everything, all of the insurance mandates, and you let the free market operate […] it would work perfectly,” he said.
“Repeal the whole thing. That’s what I have been for from the very beginning. Replace Obamacare with freedom, choice, competition and have sufficient confidence in capitalism. What is capitalism? The freedom to sell to your neighbor what your neighbor will buy voluntarily.”
Paul also highlighted the failures of socialism, noting that the ideology hasn’t worked before, and it won’t work now.
“In socialism, somebody decides that it’s going to be against the law to sell things unless it’s owned by the government,” Paul said. “In true socialism, the government owns all of the industries. And then the set the prices arbitrarily. The reason socialism will fail is that if you don’t have a marketplace, and you don’t allow supply and demand to intersect, and people to freely exchange goods, you don’t know what the price is.”
“The Soviet Union collapsed not because of military might, but they really collapsed because they couldn’t determine the price of bread because socialism doesn’t work. It doesn’t work anywhere.” When it comes to healthcare, you don’t want the government to “be in charge.”
When it comes to Medicaid, Paul says that Obamacare is responsible for causing disabled individuals to suffer.
“Obamacare’s expansion of Medicare to able-bodied people actually takes precious resources away from the disabled,” he said. “If you have a disabled family member and they’re on Medicaid, you should oppose Medicaid expansion. You need to tell those able-bodied people that they need to get out there and work.”
In conclusion, Paul says that individuals are best suited to make their healthcare decisions, not the federal government.
“Now you are stuck with this terribly expensive, dysfunctional insurance,” he concluded. “I think we should scrap it all. I don’t think the federal government should be involved in making any decisions for you on insurance. You should get to decide, we should let it go back to the states and the people. Get rid of Obamacare completely. That’s what I’m for, that’s what I promised, and I wish the rest of my colleagues would remember that’s what they promised also.”