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Separate the GOP health care bill and Sen. Rand Paul will be happy

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LISTEN: Rand Paul, Republican Senator

One of the most vocal detractors of the GOP health care bill, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said he’d be willing to compromise but he wouldn’t break his promise to voters to do it.

“The Republican plan doesn’t fix Obamacare. … It’s a tragedy,” Paul told KTAR 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

“I’m someone who tends to keep their promises. I promised voters that I would vote to repeal it,” Paul said. “I did not promise that I would create some kind of insurance entitlement.”

The GOP Senate has struggled to find a way to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. That law went into effect in March 2010. No Republicans voted for it.

“If we can only get 50 or 75 percent repeal, I will vote for some variation of repeal, but I will not vote for a new entitlement program,” he said.

Since President Donald Trump has taken office, the majority GOP has been unable to get enough votes to pass its bill, despite revisions. Another adaptation of the bill was to be released Thursday.

“(The bill) has gotten worse,” Paul said. The onetime presidential candidate said, “(In the latest version) we are keeping more of the Obamacare taxes … and keeping more of the Obamacare subsidies and adding $70 billion to the insurance bailout superfund.”

Paul suggested separate bills — one to repeal and one to replace.

“If big-government Republicans (want to spend money), stick it on a bill and work with Democrats, be honest that this is a Democrat idea. But don’t put it on a repeal bill.”

The bill needs 50 votes, which it doesn’t have. Of the 52 Senate Republicans, aside from Paul, Susan Collins of Maine, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have said they will not support it.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also from Kentucky, canceled vacation time for the Senate to work on the legislation.

“I don’t quite understand what has happened to us as a party,” Paul said.

“There’s a great disconnect between conservatives. I’ve been to Arizona … people who want smaller government, lower taxes, who want to get rid of federal control. …

“The Republican plan is the subsidization of Obamacare.”

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