Shortly after President Trump took office, Congressional Republicans were planning to pass a "repeal and delay" bill, i.e. a bill which would repeal as much of Obamacare as can be done through budget reconciliation, but delay the repeal taking effect for a couple years so that a replacement can be put in place. This bill, known as the ORRA, is the same bill that Congressional Republicans passed in 2015 but President Obama vetoed. But Senator Rand Paul called President Trump and convinced him that Obamacare shouldn't be repealed until the American people know what it will be replaced with. President Trump agreed, and Congressional Republicans scrapped their original plans and started working on a combined repeal-and-replace bill.

But then in July, when Senate Republicans were trying to pass the BCRA, a combined repeal-and-replace bill, Rand Paul opposed the BCRA and forcefully argued that Republicans should instead pass the ORRA, the same bill he had killed months earlier.

So my question is, did Rand Paul ever discuss why he changed his mind on the ORRA?

1 Answer 1


Paul's position is perplexing for a couple of reasons:

  1. He voted for a lesser Obamacare repeal bill in July. 2.
  2. The bill he opposes is one of Republicans' likeliest chances to repeal most of Obamacare in the near future.

  3. He is the only one of 52 GOP senators who is willing to vote against a last-chance effort to repeal Obamacare because it doesn't go far enough.

Some of the other senators leaning against the bill have concerns about the rushed process, or how the bill could leave millions uninsured, or how their governors feel about it. This bill goes too far in undoing government's role in health care, they argue.

Paul, almost uniquely, sees this differently. If states want to keep all of Obamacare in place, they can, he points out. (Although there will be less money to pay for it.) For the states that want to repeal Obamacare, Paul doesn't trust the government to give them waivers to do it. (Despite the fact the bill says the Health and Human Services secretary has to.)

“I’ve already spent the better part of the year arguing with an army of bureaucrats and lawyers in the administration trying to get them to do something President Trump and I AGREE should be done — loosening up the rules on joining group plans,” Paul wrote

He was on CNN last week where he said:

"This isn't a repeal. This is keeping Obamacare and redistributing the proceeds.," said Paul. "So, this is not a repeal bill, this is sort of, 'Hey, we'll take Obamacare, replace it with Obamacare, but we're going to let the states have a little more power in how we spend it.'"

Paul said he would support a partial repeal bill -- as he did with the "skinny bill" that was voted on earlier this summer and failed to pass -- but argued that the Graham-Cassidy bill is not that.

"The Graham-Cassidy bill basically immortalizes Obamacare, keeps Obamacare spending, keeps the taxes and all it does is reshuffle the proceeds from Democratic states,"

He basically doesn't think this bill will really repeal ALL of Obamacare.

Their sales pitch is, “If you like your ObamaCare, you can keep it.” That’s nice, but I don’t like it, I don’t want to keep it, and I don’t want to keep paying for it.

  • This doesn't answer my question. My question isn't about Rand Paul's stance on Graham-Cassidy, but about his stance on the ORRA, i.e. the repeal-and-delay bill. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 4:20
  • You're using abbreviations making harder to understand. Please spell them out.
    – Noah
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 4:23
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    The ORRA is the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act. It is essentially the same bill that Republicans passed in the House and Senate in 2015 and which Obama vetoed. It repeals as much of Obamacare as can be done through the budget reconciliation process, with a delay period so a replacement plan can be put in place. Shortly after Trump took office, Republicans in Congress were planning to pass the ORRA, but Rand Paul convinced Trump to kill that effort. Then when Senate Republicans tried to pass the BCRA (the Better Care Reconciliation Act), Rand Paul started supporting the ORRA. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 4:45
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    Perhaps Paul is playing both sides of the issue: Kentucky is one of the states with the greatest percentage of citizens who have benefited from the ACA, and repeal will be very unpopular with them. But he has been promising repeal for 7 years, and many people expect it to be delivered. It was easy to vote for the ORRA when Obama was president because it faced a certain veto and so none of his constituents would be affected. Now the ORRA is politically dangerous because we can all see that Congress will likely not succeed in passing a replacement later.
    – jalynn2
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 17:24

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