The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is an enormous piece of legislation with thousands of moving parts, so to speak, and tentacles that reach into several federal agencies and scores of statutes.
It’s a gargantuan law that was designed to be pervasive, complex and difficult to dismantle.
So it should come as no surprise to anyone that despite a pledge by President Donald Trump and the Republican congressional majority to quickly repeal and replace Obamacare, it’s not going to be as simple a task as Americans were initially led to believe.
That said, it seems that, finally, there is at least an Obamacare repeal bill being offered by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders, having been introduced on Thursday to a cacophony of criticism from conservatives in both chambers of Congress.
Among the bill’s most vociferous critics is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., himself a physician who got Trump’s attention early on with his plea to both repeal and replace Obamacare, though not at the same time, lest Republicans get bogged down and stuck with similarly bad legislation that perpetuates all the worst things about the Affordable Care Act. (RELATED: GOP Sen. Cotton: ‘Start over’ on Obamacare replacement because current bill won’t pass)
In an interview with Breitbart News, Paul slammed Ryan for misleading the president on the process of getting the bill through the House, as well as the level of support for it (sources told Breitbart that as many as 70 House Republicans are not in favor of the legislation as written).
Nevertheless, Ryan is moving ahead, claiming in press conferences that he believes he has the 218 votes necessary to pass what critics have already dubbed “Ryan-Care,” though it is not at all clear he does.
Paul said he was confused by Ryan’s strategy, and insisted that the Speaker is intentionally fooling the president over the bill’s level of support.
“I don’t think it makes any sense and I think he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the president,” Paul said. “I think when I’ve spoken with President Trump, I think he agrees with me that we should repeal and replace but I don’t think he’s stuck on that they have to be in the same bill necessarily. Paul Ryan, I think, is selling it to the White House and telling the White House, ‘Oh, it’s a piece of cake, it’s a done deal.’ And I don’t think that’s an accurate depiction of things.”
Paul thinks a repeal bill that all Republicans supported in 2015 and sent to President Obama, only to have it vetoed, should be introduced again because it would likely pass. Then, he said, lawmakers could get down to the business of combining ideas for how best to replace Obamacare.
“It would be better for all of us if we separated it out with clean repeal and had replacement as a separate bill,” he said.
Senior aides to other House Republicans who are not members of the conservative Freedom Caucus said their bosses were also opposed to the new legislation.
“I think you’re looking at 60 to 70 noes right now on the floor,” one aide told Breitbart News. “The phone lines have been blowing up with opposition to what they’re calling Ryan-Care. This is a hell of a Mexican standoff—it’s Freedom Caucus versus Trump, and Ryan who I think is driving the process. Who blinks here? It’s bigger than the Freedom Caucus but the Freedom Caucus has planted their flag on this one. Who’s going to blink first?”
Trump has signaled support for the House bill, but Bloomberg News also reported that Trump is open-minded and ‘agnostic’ about the legislation, meaning he could be persuaded to support other provisions or different versions. More than anything, the president believes it will be a “bloodbath for Republicans” in the 2018 elections if nothing is passed. (RELATED: Obamacare in “death spiral” as entire system unravels)
To Paul’s way of thinking, it might be worse for Republicans if they pass a worse bill or one that doesn’t eliminate the worst facets of Obamacare, which are being blamed for dramatically increased rates and out-of-pocket expenses.
And in many ways, he says, the bill does retain some of the worst Obamacare provisions.
“I think the reason why the House leadership bill is Obamacare Lite is because it retains subsidies. Obamacare had subsidies for people to buy insurance. In the Paul Ryan bill, they keep the subsidies—they just call them refundable tax credits,” he said. “Some people are predicting that it’s actually going to be more expensive than the subsidies we have under Obamacare. This isn’t you getting your own money back, this is you getting somebody else’s money.”
Either way, something has to be done with this monumental failure of public policy. Americans can no longer afford the mistake that is Obamacare.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.