Trump: Rand Paul 'Negative Force' on Health Care; Hopes Republicans Pass 'Great' Graham-Cassidy Bill

By Susan Jones | September 20, 2017 | 8:56 AM EDT

The battle over health care is once again raging on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Screen grab for C-SPAN)

( - In two tweets on Wednesday morning, President Trump plugged the latest Republican health care bill making its way through the Senate; and he slammed Sen. Rand Paul, the conservative from Kentucky, who says the latest Republican bill keeps much of the Obamacare taxes and structure, just rearranging the furniture a little bit.

"Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he is such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare. Graham-Cassidy Bill is GREAT! Ends Ocare!" Trump tweeted shortly after 8 a.m.

Moments later, another tweet: "I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to States!"

As reported on Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul has dismissed the Graham-Cassidy health care bill as “just another big-government boondoggle.”

It would basically send the taxpayer money now spent on Obamacare (for Medicaid expansion and subsidies) to the states as block grants, in more or less equal amounts, so the states could decide what health care systems work best for their residents.

Paul appeared on Fox & Friends Wednesday, describing the new plan as a $1.2 trillion "grant program" with the money "reshuffled" among the states. He said there's nothing conservative about a bill that spends so much money. And he also noted that he promised to vote for repeal.

Paul told Fox News yesterday that he would rather take a free-market approach:

"What I would do, and what I’ve been talking to President Trump about, is I think what we should do is allow people to buy across state lines through health care associations, and actually I think the president’s going to do this on his own within the next week or two, and I think this could help millions and millions of people get affordable insurance, and guess what -- it’s not a government program and it doesn’t cost any money.

"This is what Republicans ought to get behind instead of a big government boondoggle of a trillion dollars in spending," Paul added.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told CNN on Wednesday that his bill would provide "both adequate and affordable" health insurance coverage, and he said it would absolutely protect people with pre-existing conditions.

The secretary of Health and Human Services would decide what "adequate and affordable" means. It would not be left up to the insurance companies, Cassidy told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Arguments for and against the bill are expected next week when the Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the bill. The bill must get at least 50 Senate votes by Sept. 30 to pass under reconciliation rules.

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