Healthcare

Rand Paul says can’t support last-ditch GOP ObamaCare repeal

Keren Carrion

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he can’t support the newest ObamaCare repeal plan a quartet of senators is pushing, highlighting the hurdles the legislation would need to overcome to pass the upper chamber.

Paul called the legislation “Obamacare Lite.”

GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) released the legislation on Wednesday.

{mosads}The bill would move money for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, tax credits and cost-sharing reduction subsidies to block grants to the states. It would also repeal the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.

On Friday morning, Cassidy told reporters that he was “pretty confident we’ll get there on the Republican side. We’re probably at 48-49 [votes] and talking to two or three more.”

The bill would have to surmount some tough hurdles in order to pass the Senate. The fast-track vehicle the GOP was using to repeal ObamaCare, since it avoided a Democratic filibuster, expires at the end of the month.

Additionally, the legislation could only afford to lose two GOP votes — assuming Vice President Pence swoops in to break a tie — and Paul is already a hard no.

On Monday, Paul told reporters the proposal would “probably” be worse than doing nothing about the health law. Over the summer, Paul was critical of GOP leadership’s repeal-and-replace bill, advocating for a clean repeal of ObamaCare instead.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Cassidy and Graham Tuesday they would need to find the votes on their own.

“I think Mitch would vote for it, but he said, ‘Go get 50 votes,’” Graham said. Fifty votes would allow Vice President Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) is measuring support for the legislation.

“What I told Sen. Graham is we would work to try to get a sense of where people were … so my hope is we’ll get that preliminary information back in the next few days,” Cornyn said Thursday, when asked about the vote counting.

Tags Bill Cassidy Dean Heller John Cornyn Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Rand Paul Ron Johnson

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