Paul was one of the biggest critics of the healthcare bill that recently moved through the House– but his criticism of the Senate effort has been more subdued.
On Thursday, however, Paul told The Hill that the inclusion of “new entitlements,” including a refundable tax credit and a “stabilization” fund to subsidize premiums, make it impossible fr him to support the current bill.
“I think we shouldn’t have new entitlements that will go on forever in a Republican plan to fix healthcare,” Paul told a small group of reporters. “We can’t pay for what we already have: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”
The decision to work through the healthcare bill without committee hearings has drawn heavy criticism from Democrats, who argue that lawmakers are attempting to produce the bill in secret before forcing a vote to minimize public scrutiny. It’s a criticism Paul shares, though his concern is that Republicans are attempting to change the repeal/replace effort to please the most moderate Republicans rather than provide the full replacement lawmakers on the right promised conservative voters for years.
“I think I would have preferred that it go through committee,” Paul told The Hill. “But they’ve chosen to do it the way they are and we’ll see. But the proof’s in the details when they finally get a bill out.”
Republican leaders in the Senate can’t afford to lose more than two GOP votes if they hope to pass the legislation.
Rep. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also expressing heavy concern about the current legislation, meaning Paul may have some room to push the legislation in a more conservative direction.
“[I]f they get to an impasse, come talk to me, because I’m more than willing to vote for a partial repeal if I can’t get complete repeal, but I’m not willing to vote for new Republican entitlement programs,” Paul said.
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