EXCLUSIVE: Rand Paul’s Obamacare Replacement Gains Traction With House Conservatives

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare appears to be gaining traction with House conservatives.

Paul met with members of the House Freedom Caucus Wednesday to discuss the details of his health care blueprint, which was largely met with praise from the powerful conservative group.

“You know I think that we had a great meeting — I don’t want to characterize the Freedom Caucus — but I do think that there is a lot of consensus among conservatives that we need a replacement bill, and it needs to be a market oriented replacement bill,  not another big government federal plan,” Paul told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

HFC Chairman Mark Meadows told TheDCNF there were elements of the plan he found encouraging, adding he believes Congress needs to move quickly on health-care reform.

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford said he’s considering introducing a companion bill in the House, noting he still needs to have discussions with HFC members about co-sponsoring the legislation.

“I think he has a great bill, I think it’s important to lay out conservative principles early on in the health-care debate, and the debate about what follows repeal,” he told TheDCNF. “I think it’s important to do as he has suggested in as much as possible coupling the repeal with replace — if you think about something as important as people’s health care, they don’t want to have a void, they don’t want to be uncertain about what comes next.”

Sanford said it will take time for insurance companies in the commercial marketplace to create products that fit with the replacement plan, suggesting that Paul’s legislation eliminates the potential for a large gap during the transition.

Paul, who spoke with the White House about his plan in January, has been adamant that repeal and replacement should occur simultaneously. With President Donald Trump stressing the urgency of health care reform, Paul said it’s likely lawmakers will act on a plan in coming weeks.

“We want more people to be able to afford insurance, Obamacare made the prices higher, we want to free up the ability to sell more insurance plans that are less expensive and I think that’s what this conservative replacement plan will do,” he said. “I think the next few weeks it could be three weeks, it could be six weeks, but I think you’ll see something in the next two months that will be a repeal and replacement.”

Virginia Rep. Dave Brat said that Sen. Paul’s blueprint is the most conservative of the plans that have been laid out, addinghe believes it’s critical they assure the plan is right since it could have a strong impact on solvency of a number of entitlement programs.

“All the elements of  Rand’s plan are moving us in the right direction toward patient-centered health-care, lower costs, bigger pools to insure everyone and cover preexisting conditions and I think that many members will look favorably on it,” Brat told TheDCNF. “From what I’ve seen so far this is the most free-market approach to health care that will truly bend down the cost curve.”

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