GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said he would consider voting for the Graham-Cassidy health care reform bill if they remove language on block grant funding to the states during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
Block grants is the central idea in the bill, which was recently introduced by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada. Paul said lawmakers in the upper chamber should vote on the parts of the legislation they agree upon, arguing the measure has more in it than the “skinny repeal” bill the upper chamber failed to pass in July
“I would vote to block grant at pre-Obama levels. If you want to look at 2009 and say do you want to block grant Medicaid, I would have been a yes,” he told host Chuck Todd. “But after you double spending on all of these entitlement programs, we have a $700 billion deficit this year and a $20 trillion debt — we can’t just keep piling on new money.”
The Kentucky Republican said he’s concerned if the bill passes, the party will end up taking heat for further damaging the heath care system.
“I can’t in good conscience vote to keep it, all the spending in place because if we do, the Republican name will be on health care and this isn’t going to work,” he told host Chuck Todd. “We’re going to ending up having Republicans absorb all the blame for a terrible health care system.”
Paul said the bill doesn’t fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, and believes conservatives need to take strides to make good on their campaign promise.
“There has to be a conservatives left in Washington that say, ‘We really were for repeal and still are for repealing Obamacare,” he said.
The Senate has until Sept. 30 to use the Fiscal Year 2018 budget as a reconciliation tool for health care reform, which allows the Senate to pass the bill with just a simple majority. Leadership is pressed for time to rally the support needed to pass repeal legislation. Sen. John McCain of Arizona joined Paul as the second GOP lawmaker in the upper chamber to come out against the bill.
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