Paul outlines demands for yes vote on Graham-Cassidy bill

Paul outlines demands for yes vote on Graham-Cassidy bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTransparency advocate says government agencies face 'use it or lose it' spending Republicans need solutions on environment too Trio of NFL players intern on Capitol Hill as part of league program MORE (R-Ky.) is outlining a list of demands to win his support for the GOP's latest ObamaCare replacement bill that would require major changes to the legislation.

Paul's primary demand, according to his office, is to substantially reduce the central component of the bill sponsored by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Memo: Trump can't let go of McCain grudge The Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidySenators ask CBO to review options for preventing surprise medical bills Five things to watch for in Trump's 2020 budget Overnight Health Care - Presented by Kidney Care Partners - FDA chief Scott Gottlieb resigns | House Dems to take up drug pricing bills next week | Planned Parenthood, doctors group sue over Trump abortion rule MORE (La.): block grants to states with money to spend on health care.

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"Graham/Cassidy keeps and redistributes/spends over a trillion dollars," Paul says in a document provided by his office.

"My promise to the voters was to repeal Obamacare - not block grant and keep Obamacare," he adds. "If Obamacare were truly repealed, this entire trillion dollars would not be spent. This is the primary obstacle to my support, and only a significant reassessment of this trillion-dollar spending regime would get my support."

A "significant reassessment" of the spending, though, is likely to cost the GOP other votes, most notably Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRed dresses displayed around American Indian museum to memorialize missing, murdered native women Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration MORE (R-Alaska), who is already focused on whether the bill does enough to help people afford coverage.

Finding some way to win Paul's vote, however unlikely, is crucial for GOP leaders, given that they can only lose two votes. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLou Dobbs: Political criticism of McCain 'not an exhumation of his body' Trump rips McCain, says he gave Steele dossier to FBI for 'very evil purposes' The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE (R-Ariz.) is also against the bill, and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' MORE (R-Maine) said Sunday that it's "very difficult" for her to imagine supporting the measure.

Paul, who has repeatedly bashed the bill in television interviews and on Twitter, also wants states to have even more freedom to repeal ObamaCare regulations. The "default," he says, should be that all its regulations are repealed, and states can opt in to keep some regulations if they choose.

Further action to repeal those regulations is politically fraught, though, given that they include protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Finally, Paul wants both executive action from the Trump administration and committee time to consider legislative action on a favored cause of his, known as Association Health Plans, which allow businesses and individuals to band together to buy health insurance as a group.