by Juliegrace Brufke
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul said he feels more optimistic about repealing and replacing Obamacare after a golf outing with President Donald Trump Sunday.
Paul was highly critical of the House leadership-backed Obamacare repeal plan, which was pulled off the floor due to a lack of votes. He encouraged the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which was largely blamed for the bill’s derailment, not to support the measure — much to the dismay of the administration.
“We had a great day with the president. Played some golf, and we talked and we talked about a little bit of health care. I continue to be very optimistic that we are getting closer and closer to an agreement on repealing Obamacare,” he said upon arriving back at the White House after playing at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.
Trump has repeatedly attacked conservatives for opting not to back the American Health Care Act, threatening to support primaries against those who didn’t get behind the bill. Conservative members, including Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan and Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, have stood by their stance, saying the House legislation would fail to bring premiums down.
Paul introduced his own Obamacare replacement plan, with South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford introducing its counterpart in the House, which they argue is a better alternative.
Trump told the Financial Times if the deal he is trying to negotiate doesn’t gain enough support with Republicans, he will turn to Democrats for help.
“It will be a repeal and replace of Obamacare which is the deal that is being negotiated now. And if we don’t get the . . . Freedom Caucus there that would be fine. They’re friends of mine,” he told the publication. “Many of them have already left, and many of them as you know have already given us their vote. But when you have zero Democrats, zero, you need close to 100 per cent of the Republicans.”