Rand Paul on Health Care
Republican Kentucky Senator
PAUL: I believe that it's incredibly important that we do replacement on the same day as we do repeal. The replacement bill that we put together, our goal is to give access to the most amount of people at the least amount of cost. And I think this is where ObamaCare failed. They wanted to insure people. Their motives were good. But they put so many mandates in it, that they made it too expensive. The other problem with ObamaCare is, they have put these mandates and said that every insurance policy has to have 10 items, things like pregnancy and dental coverage and all these things, which are great, but they add cost. And that forced people out of the market. So, one of the key reforms that we will do is, we're going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance. That means getting rid of the ObamaCare mandates on what you can buy.
TRUMP: As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age. What I'd like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state.
PAUL: I've got a news flash: the Republican Party's been fighting against a single-payer system for a decade. So I think you're on the wrong side of this if you're still arguing for a single-payer system.
TRUMP: I don't think you heard me. You're having a hard time tonight.
Q: Mr. Trump, it's not just your past support for single-payer health care. You've also supported a host of other liberal policies. Use--you've also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi.
TRUMP: Most of the people on this stage I've given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.
As a doctor, I have had firsthand experience with the immense problems facing health care. Prior to the implementation of ObamaCare, our health care system was over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms--but ObamaCare is not the answer.
Government interventions in health care have driven up the cost of coverage and decreased competition within the market. More--not less--freedom to choose and innovate will make sure our health care system remains the best in the world.
As your President, I will ensure that real free-market principles are applied to the American health care system so that it is responsive to patients, families, and doctors, rather than government bureaucracy.
"I'm not sure I'm different from the president or anyone else on the position," Paul said. "We have rules to encourage people to have vaccines in the country, but I don't think anybody's recommending that we hold them down."
Pressed on whether vaccinations should be required when an illness could spread to other children, Paul said certain school vaccine requirements were already "somewhat of a mandate," but really more of an encouragement. "Interestingly, 48 out of 50 states do have a religious as well as philosophic exemption if you have a problem," Paul said.
Paul, however, doubled down on his view that the decision whether to vaccinate one's child is a matter of personal liberty: "The state doesn't own your children," Paul said. "Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom and public health."
Paul also said he's heard of cases where children were left with "profound mental disorders" after being vaccinated. Some opponents have drawn links between vaccines and autism, although this has been discredited in the medical community. [Paul recalled his irritation at doctors who tried to press him to vaccinate his own children. He eventually did, he said, but spaced out the vaccinations over a period of time.]
President Obama's fundamental promise that if you like your doctor you can keep them--was a lie. ObamaCare, at its core, takes away a patient's right to choose. Under ObamaCare, patients are prohibited from choosing their doctor or their insurance. Today, more Americans may have medical insurance, but Americans are now paying more money for worse care.
The relationship between doctor and patient is withering. Doctors are fleeing the profession they love. Hospitals are straining, closing, or refusing to accept ObamaCare policies. Everyone knows our health care system needed reforming, but it was the wrong prescription to choose more government instead of more consumer choice and competition. How should we fix our healthcare system? Let's try freedom again. It worked for over 200 years!
More freedom to choose and innovate will make sure our health care system remains the best in the world. As your Senator, I am working to ensure that real free market principles are applied to the American health care system so that it is responsive to patients, families, and doctors rather than government bureaucracy.
PAUL: Nearly 90% of them are signing up for Medicaid, free health insurance from the government. My concern is not that we shouldn't help people. I do want to help these people to get insurance. But there is going to be a cost. So I see the positive, but I also see the negative. And the real problem is we're driving everyone out of the individual market. Where there were once hundreds of plans that you could choose from, there's now four government-mandated plans. If your insurance is not as good as them, or even if it's too good, you can't buy it.
Q: If the web site problems are fixed, will ObamaCare work?
PAUL: You know, I think government is inherently inept, because they don't work on a profit motive. Government has to do certain things. But government shouldn't take on new things to do when it's not managing what it has now.
PAUL: Well, because it's Congress's job to oversee spending. The power of the purse resides with Congress and they fund programs every year. So it's not their obligation once something is law to never change it. So it's a silly argument for Democrats to say, "Oh, the law has been passed. We can't ever change it." Well that's what Congress's job is.
Q: You talk about compromise a lot with regard to ObamaCare. What part of ObamaCare do you like and want to keep?
PAUL: I don't really like any of ObamaCare. But I realize I'm not going to get my way. But we do control a third of the government. People did elect us to fight. I'm supposed to go and fight to make bills either less bad or make them better if possible. So I think it is my job to stand up and provide oversight for legislation. It's precisely what Congress is supposed to be doing. This is Congress's job.
Major corporations who manufacture vitamins and supplements are often able to advertise certain health benefits. But what about the small businesses? What about those who sell & promote natural foods and supplements, products that are widely known to have certain health benefits, but the FDA doesn't think these businesses should be allowed to advertise these benefits?
For millions of Americans suffering from a wide range of diseases or other health care problems, the FDA has regularly denied information regarding the therapeutic benefits of using dietary supplements.
The leftwing blogs were merciless. Even my wife said--can't you pleeeease count to ten before you speak? So, I've had time now to count to ten and, you know what? I still think it's unconstitutional!
Do you think Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have changed their minds? I think if James Madison himself--the father of the Constitution--were here today he would agree with me: The whole damn thing is still unconstitutional!
This debate is not new and it's not over. Hamilton and Madison fought from the beginning about how government would be limited by the enumerated powers. Madison was unequivocal. The powers of the federal government are few and defined. The power to tax and spend is restricted by the enumerated powers.
So, how do we fix this travesty of justice? There's only one option left. We have to have a new president!
They scoffed at us when we said it wasn't constitutional. This Supreme Court case that will be more, about much more than health care. It's going to be about whether or not we believe that our government should be restrained by the Constitution. I think for 60 or 70 years we've been gradually going down this road of becoming more of a majoritarian rule, a democracy. Jefferson said democracy would be nothing more than a mob rule. Our Founding Fathers knew the difference between a republic and a democracy.
Our understanding of the Commerce Clause has become so broad that I often will say, if my shoes were made in Tennessee, they'll regulate my walking in Kentucky.
PAUL: It's incredibly foolhardy to have a trillion-dollar stimulus and then another trillion dollars into Obamacare. The thing about government also is they notoriously underestimate the cost of things. What the Democrats tell us will be a trillion- dollar health care could turn into a $3 trillion nightmare, a drag on the economy. It's already causing unemployment in Kentucky. My health insurance went up 15 percent since Obamacare was passed. What is going to happen is it's going to hurt the economy and hurt jobs in Kentucky.
[Sen. DeMint, R-SC]: The Democrats have Medicare on a course of bankruptcy. Republicans are trying to save Medicare & make sure there are options for seniors in the future. Medicare will not be there 5 or 10 years from now. Doctors will not see Medicare patients at the rate [Congress will] pay.
[Sen. Ayotte, R-NH]: We have 3 choices when it comes to addressing rising health care costs in Medicare. We can do nothing & watch the program go bankrupt in 2024. We can go forward with the President's proposal to ration care through an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats. Or we can show real leadership & strengthen the program to make it solvent for current beneficiaries, and allow future beneficiaries to make choices.
Opponent's Arguments for voting No:
[Sen. Conrad, D-ND]: In the House Republican budget plan, the first thing they do is cut $4 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the wealthiest among us, they give them an additional $1 trillion in tax reductions. To offset these massive new tax cuts, they have decided to shred the social safety net. They have decided to shred Medicare. They have decided to shred program after program so they can give more tax cuts to those who are the wealthiest among us.
[Sen. Merkley, D-TK]: The Republicans chose to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan reopens the doughnut hole. That is the hole into which seniors fall when, after they have some assistance with the first drugs they need, they get no assistance until they reach a catastrophic level. It is in that hole that seniors have had their finances devastated. We fixed it. Republicans want to unfix it and throw seniors back into the abyss. Then, instead of guaranteeing Medicare coverage for a fixed set of benefits for every senior--as Medicare does now--the Republican plan gives seniors a coupon and says: Good luck. Go buy your insurance. If the insurance goes up, too bad.
Status: Failed 40-57
The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.
The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Federal government run health care system"
The Contract from America, clause 7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care:
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling
The Club for Growth's "Repeal-It!" Pledge for candidates states, "I hereby pledge to the people of my district/state upon my election to the U.S. House of Representatives/U.S. Senate, to sponsor and support legislation to repeal any federal health care takeover passed in 2010, and replace it with real reforms that lower health care costs without growing government."
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Senate races 2017-8:
AZ: Flake(R) vs. Ward(R) vs.Sinema(D) vs.Abboud(D) vs.McSally(R) vs.Arpaio(R) vs.Marks(L)
CA: Feinstein(D) vs. Eisen(I) vs. Sanchez?(D) vs.de_Leon(D)
CT: Murphy(D) vs.Adams(D) vs.Corey(R)
DE: Carper(D) vs.Arlett(R) vs.Truono(R) vs.
FL: Nelson(D) vs.
HI: Hirono(D) vs.Curtis(R) vs.
IN: Donnelly(D) vs.
MA: Warren(D) vs. Ayyadurai(I) vs.
MD: Cardin(D) vs.Campbell(R) vs.Vohra(L) vs.
ME: King(I) vs.Brakey(R) vs.Ringelstein(D) vs.Lyons(L)
MI: Stabenow(D) vs.
MN-6: Klobuchar(D) vs.Newberger(R) vs.Overby(G)
MO: McCaskill(D) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Monetti(R) vs.Hawley(R)
MS-2: vs.Hyde-Smith(R) vs. McDaniel(R) vs.Espy(D) vs.
MS-6: Wicker(R) vs.Baria(D) vs.
MT: Tester(D) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Rosendale(R)
ND: Heitkamp(D) vs.Peyer(D) vs.Cramer(R) vs.
NE: Fischer(R) vs.Raybould(D)
NJ: Menendez(D) vs.
NM: Heinrich(D) vs.Rich(R) vs.Johnson(L)
NV: Heller(R) vs.
NY: Gillibrand(D) vs.
OH: Brown(D) vs.
PA: Casey(D) vs.
RI: Whitehouse(D) vs.
TN: Corker(R) vs.Bredesen(D) vs.
TX: Cruz(R) vs.
UT: Hatch(R) vs.
VA: Kaine(D) vs.
VT: Sanders(I) vs.Milne(D) vs.MacGovern(D) vs.Paige(R) vs.Zupan(R)
WA: Cantwell(D) vs.Hutchison(R) vs.Ferguson(D) vs.Luke(L) vs.Strider(L)
WI: Baldwin(D) vs.Vukmir(R)
WV: Manchin(D) vs.
WY: Barrasso(R) vs.Trauner(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)