U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says effort to repeal and replace Affordable Care Act not over
After the failures of three Republican health care bills last week, Paul says he wants to try something new.
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul said the effort repeal and replace Obamacare is not dead, but it may have to be dismantled piece by piece, instead of all at once.
"From my point of view, I don't think it's over until we fix health care," Paul said. "That may not be in one bill, but there is going to be ongoing efforts. And one of the things that I think we might be able to have bipartisan support for -- people are talking about trying to do a bipartisan approach now -- is the health associations. I don't think there is anything inherently partisan about them."
Paul talked with reporters following a meeting Monday with small business owners in Elizabethtown. He said he wants to work with Democrats on fixes such as expanding health associations that would allow individuals and small businesses to form larger groups to negotiate lower health insurance rates.
“Because it’s just been repeal, no Democrats want to talk to us at all," Paul said. "Now, if we get beyond that, maybe they will discuss with us."
Kenny Rambo was among the business people who attended the meeting with Paul. He owns Heartland Communications, a small marketing and PR firm, and said the Affordable care Act has been anything but affordable. His health insurance premiums have almost doubled.
“We've seen our premium increase, while our deductible, to try to keep costs down, has also increased,” he said.
Rambo said it has been frustrating to watch the arguing over healthcare on Capitol Hill.
“We just have a legitimate challenge: a problem that needs solutions,” he said.
Paul said health associations can be part of the solution. Even as he tries to work with Democrats on the issue, he has also asked President Donald Trump to legalize them on his own by executive action.
“They have been promising for months that there's things that they can do through executive action, and we're going to be really excited when it happens," Paul said. "They need to get started, because nobody is too excited about what Congress is doing right now."
Paul said he is not giving up on a repeal of Obamacare. He said he is still convinced that is the best way to force Democrats to negotiate on health care. Paul said he does not blame his fellow Kentuckian, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the failure to pass a repeal and replace bill last week.
"I guess my disappointment is mostly with those promised to vote for a repeal, then didn't vote for a repeal," Paul said. "Those are the people who broke their promise."
Following the meeting with Paul, Rambo said he’s encouraged that efforts to fix health care will continue. He hopes all sides working together can agree on a plan.
“I think as long as we keep the dialogue open and, as one gentleman alluded to, not be concerned with who gets credit for resolving it,” he said.
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