NEW YORK — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday he is concerned that the GOP health care bill will fail in the Senate, but that it is “a disaster” nonetheless.
Paul told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he has been “on the receiving end of some pretty heavy blows” from his fellow Republican lawmakers.
He said Republicans should take a “fresh look at what they’re doing” in the future, including “if we want to have an economy that’s not so dependent on the federal government.”
He said the bill, which passed the Senate on Tuesday and now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk, “is the most complete fraud of all.”
“It is the greatest scam in the history of this country,” Paul said.
“It’s a fraud because it says you can get health care without the government.
It is a fraud by design, because you can’t.”
Paul said that he and other Republicans are looking for “a fresh look” at the bill because it is a “fraud,” but he has not yet seen a new version.
“We should look at that bill, and we should look into it, and I don’t want it to fail,” Paul added.
“But if we want a robust economy, we should get rid of the federal deficit.
I don`t want the federal budget to grow by more than 3 percent, but we should cut the federal debt.”
Democrats have criticized the bill as being too generous to low-income people and corporations, and said they would block any attempt to repeal Obamacare if it passes.
The legislation, known as the American Health Care Act, would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a “public option,” a version of Medicare that would include higher-deductible health plans and a subsidy for individuals making less than 400 percent of the poverty line.
But Republicans say they would preserve the existing Medicaid program for low- and moderate-income Americans and would cut it by $880 billion over the next decade.
Democrats have also criticized the measure as being unfair to lower-income and older Americans and have said it would cause them to lose insurance.
The Senate GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Care Act would repeal most of the ACA’s taxes, including income taxes, and replace them with a one-time payment of up to $95 a month to consumers who earn less than $200,000 a year.
Republicans say the payment would be based on income, but Democrats say it is based on age.
Democrats and some Republicans have argued that the payments will provide an incentive for people to stay insured and increase premiums, which would hurt middle-class Americans.
The bill is a bipartisan effort from a coalition of GOP senators led by Sens.
Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).
It passed the House by a vote of 217-213 on Wednesday, with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R.
La.) joining all Democrats in voting against it.
Democrats said they have been pressing Republicans to pass a plan that would preserve Obamacare and offer some insurance to lower and moderate income Americans.
But Republican senators have said they cannot afford to lose a number of Republican votes.
“Our problem is that there are people who are sick and tired of seeing us fail, and so we’re going to have to make sure that we don’t do that,” Cassidy told MSNBC on Wednesday.
“And that’s the real tragedy of this.
And it’s really the real reason we’re having this debate right now.”
Rep. Charlie Dent (R., Pa.), who chairs the House’s Republican Study Committee, said he has “serious concerns” about the bill’s impact on the Medicaid expansion in his state.
Dent, who said he will vote against the bill if it becomes law, told MSNBC that his constituents would not be “forced to go to the hospital” under the legislation.
“If you’re a middle-income person, if you’re on Medicare, you’re going, well, this is not a cost of doing business, and it’s not a benefit, it’s just a tax that they pay for their health care,” Dent said.