US Senator Rand Paul talks to WDRB News about his opposition to the GOP health care plan
Paul spoke with WDRB's Lawrence Smith Tuesday about pressure from the White House to support the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The heat is on Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul, but in an interview with WDRB News, Paul says he is standing firm in opposition to his own party's health care plan.
Paul calls the GOP plan "Obamacare Lite," and he is resisting pressure, even from the White House, to change his mind.
Vice President Mike Pence was in Louisville on Saturday to rally support for the GOP healthcare plan.
"And for us to seize this opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all, we need every Republican in Congress, and we're counting on Kentucky," said Pence
That comment was widely seen as being aimed at Paul, as is President Trump's upcoming visit to Louisville on Monday.
"On the healthcare issue, we are not exactly on the same side, but I would say we're not exactly on opposite sides either," Paul told WDRB News.
While Paul is a vocal opponent of the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare being backed by the President, the two are talking.
"I've talked to him several times about how we make healthcare better in the country, and he says he's open to compromise," said Paul.
Paul says the bill contains too many Obamacare leftovers. He wants it to be first repealed, and then replaced with a free market plan that Paul believes will decrease insurance costs by increasing competition.
"I can't vote for a plan that is Obamacare Lite, and also keeps all the fundamental problems that have caused our insurance markets to be out-of-whack and our premiums to go through the roof," he said.
Paul appears to have an ally in Governor Matt Bevin.
"Sen. Paul has ideas of things he thinks it needs to be a lot stronger," Bevin told reporters last week. "He's not as impressed with what has currently been offered as some who have currently offered it. Truth be told, I'm not either. So, I'm with him."
Paul says Republicans have one shot to get healthcare right.
He believes the new Congressional Budget Office estimate that 24 million people would lose coverage under what some are calling "TrumpCare," gives him more ammunition.
"I think negotiations work both ways, and so I'm very willing to listen to the President," said Paul. "He's asked my advice, and we will give the advice. I think the plan as it currently sits cannot pass the House or the Senate."
Paul was scheduled to meet with the President at the White House Tuesday afternoon, but the senator says he likely will not be there for the Trump's rally on Monday.
Senator Mitch McConnell does plan to attend.
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