Will the Swamp defeat ObamaCare repeal?
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This week, the Senate will likely move to proceed on a bill to repeal and maybe repeal/replace Obamacare. That’s what we’ve been told.

What bill? Good question. Remember that when you hear the clamoring of voices saying “you have to vote to proceed to the bill” or worse “you just have to be part of the team and vote for it!”

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That’s the kind of thinking that got us into this mess and I won’t be a part of it.

Let’s take the first possibility – that we are voting to repeal ObamaCare. That’s what I ran on. That’s what every current Republican member of the Senate except one voted on in 2015. CLEAN repeal, no bailouts, no taxes left in place.

It’s not perfect. It’s not full repeal of ObamaCare, partially because a complete repeal isn’t possible under Senate rules without Democrat cooperation, something we are not going to have.

But it’s good. It’s clean. It puts us a long way toward keeping our campaign promises, without adding insurance bailouts and massive subsidies.

So if that’s what our leadership finally decides to move to first next week, I’ll vote to proceed to the debate, and I’ll vote for repeal.

What is the alternative? A pork-laden bailout bill that doesn’t repeal ObamaCare. That’s the current Senate leadership bill. The bill fails at its mission to repeal by leaving most of the ObamaCare taxes and regulations in place, while also loading us up with $200 billion in bailouts for rich insurance companies, who’ve seen their profits double under ObamaCare.

I won’t be a part of that. I won’t vote for it, and if that’s the bill the leadership intends to turn to, I won’t vote to proceed to the floor. It’s that simple.

I have been clear on this all along. I’ve told the White House and the Senate leaders what has to happen to earn my vote on the replacement bill, and though I credit the White House and the president for listening, I have been met with stunning silence in the Senate.

I don’t think the leadership bill should pass. I don’t think it would pass. So let’s not do that this week. Let’s bring up the 2015 clean repeal bill and keep our word. It includes a two-year winding down of the subsidies and Medicaid expansion to help planning and transitions.

I hope my colleagues will join me in this dual path – support this clean repeal and oppose the bailouts and fake repeal that come with the leadership bill.

So far though, I’m not encouraged. Multiple senators who voted to repeal in 2015 seem to be going back on their vote and their promises to repeal. This vote should be simple for any senator. If you voted for it when President Obama was in office, you should vote for it again with President Trump ready to sign it. If you don’t, what does that say about you?

Finally, I hope many of my colleagues move forward with a different attitude when considering these alternatives. Listening to many of them in meetings over the last few weeks has been disheartening to say the least.

One colleague said: “I don’t think the federal government has any role in health insurance, none. But I’m going to vote for this because I’m on the team.”

Another said: “This is a terrible bill. Terrible. It doesn’t repeal or solve any problems. But it’s what we’ve got and I’m going to vote for it.”

I could go on, as there were many variations of this: The bill is wrong. It doesn’t fix anything, but I guess we have to do it so we don’t look bad.

I think THAT is what would make us look bad – if we vote for a bad bill just to say we did something.

I’ve told my colleagues: I try to be part of the team. But my team promised to actually repeal ObamaCare … over and over again at election time. My team voted for the 2015 clean repeal bill and told the American people they’d do that if they got the White House.

My team did not promise $200 billion insurance bailouts or continuing ObamaCare taxes and regulations.

So if my team remembers what they’ve said and what they’re supposed to stand for – count me in.

But if they continue not to, I’ll be a hell no.

Paul is a Republican senator from Kentucky.


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.