Rand Paul to Trump: 'I won't be bribed or bullied' on Obamacare - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Rand Paul to Trump: 'I won't be bribed or bullied' on Obamacare repeal

(Carrie Cochran, Cincinnati Enquirer) (Carrie Cochran, Cincinnati Enquirer)
FOX19 -

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is a definitive "no" vote on the Senate Republican's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, he pushed back pressure from President Donald Trump, saying he won't be "bribed or bullied." 

President Trump singled the Kentucky Republican out to pressure senators to get in line supporting Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy's (R-La.) health care proposal.

“Rand Paul, or whoever votes against Hcare Bill, will forever (future political campaigns) be known as ‘the Republican who saved Obamacare,’” Trump warned.

In a series of tweets, Paul contended the Graham-Cassidy bill does not fulfill the Republican Party's long-term promise to totally ax Obama-era healthcare legislation.

“Calling a bill that KEEPS most of Obamacare ‘repeal’ doesn't make it true. That’s what the swamp does,” Paul tweeted. “I won't be bribed or bullied.” 

Paul has been a vocal opponent of the GOP's efforts to gut Obamacare. Not because he supports the landmark series of health policies, but because Republicans aren't dismantling it enough. So far, all of the GOP's efforts have kept some combination of the ACA's taxes and protections. 

“I won’t vote for Obamacare Lite that keeps 90% of the taxes & spending just so some people can claim credit for something that didn’t happen,” Paul said.

Republicans have started to throw their support behind the Graham-Cassidy measure after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. The bill aims to terminate the Affordable Care Act's insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansion and coverage guarantees of people with pre-existing conditions. Instead, the federal government would block-grant health care funding to the states — which critics say could destabilize the healthcare market and cut millions of people off of insurance. 

However, Republicans have moved on the bill without a complete analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to forecast the bill's impact on the economy and the number of insured people, despite health care expenditures encompassing about 1/6 of the American economy. 

Backers of the bill are scrambling to whip up 50 votes before the September 30 procedure deadline, after that Republicans will need a filibuster-proof 60 votes. 

With a thin majority in the Senate, the GOP can only afford to lose two Republican votes with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tie-breaking vote. 

John McCain (R-Ariz.) likely doomed the bill after announcing on Friday he would oppose it, saying he could not "in good conscience" support the bill without knowing its economic consequences or how many people would be booted off their health insurance. 

The other swing votes are Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who have both strongly suggested they will vote against Graham and Cassidy's proposal. 

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