Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday he doesn’t think Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has enough votes to pass his overall ObamaCare bill, but suggested that the GOP-controlled chamber could still pass a more conservative measure.
"I don’t think he does” have the votes, the Kentucky Republican and Tea Party conservative told “Fox News Sunday.” “We won four elections on repealing ObamaCare … but this doesn’t.”
Paul is one of two Republican senators who publicly does not support the measure, arguing largely that it gives too much subsidy money to health insurance companies in the ObamaCare program.
“That is not a Republican idea, to give taxpayer money to a private industry,” Paul, a doctor, said about the bill's so-called “temporary stabilization fund” that is now at about $200 billion.
McConnell had scheduled a key vote this week on the legislation. But on Saturday night he postponed the vote, following Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain announcing that he had surgery to remove a blood clot near an eye and that he needs about a week to recover.
Without McCain’s vote, McConnell likely couldn’t get 50 “yeahs” from the chamber's 52 senators to pass the bill.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins is the other GOP senator who now opposes the measure -- a second version after the first failed to get support before Congress’ July 4 recess.
“I still think the entire 52 of us can get together and pass something more narrow,” said Paul, who has suggested putting the subsidies plan in a separate bill that Senate Democrats could support.
“The Republican plan doesn’t fix the death spiral of ObamaCare, it merely subsidizes it,” said Paul, who acknowledges talking in recent days to President Trump, who's pushing hard to fulfill a major campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
He also said Sunday that he’s not willing to compromise on the insurance subsidies.
“I’m not willing to trade Medicaid reform for an insurance company bailout, insurance company entitlement,” he said. “I don’t think Republicans should put their name on this [bill] … It’s a really bad political strategy and it’s not going to fix the problem.”