With all the controversy over Donald Trump’s Joint Sessions speech and the calls for Jeff Sessions to resign and/or recuse himself from the investigation involving Russian ties, some may have forgotten that there’s still a bitter battle waging in Congress over Obamacare. That battle is less between Democrats — who want to maintain Obamacare — and Republicans (who want to repeal it) and more between the Republicans who want to replace Obamacare with … a different version of Obamacare and Republicans who basically don’t want it replaced at all.
Republican Senator Rand Paul is one of those guys who basically believes that the government should stay out of healthcare, although earlier this year he did suggest he wasn’t comfortable repealing Obamacare without a replacement. Nevertheless, Rand Paul is with Paul Ryan: He wants a full and complete repeal.
The House Republicans? Not so much, but they do have a plan, apparently, for a replacement, but those sneaky bastards are not letting the Senate Republicans see it? Why? Rand Paul has a theory:
I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
@RandPaul This is unacceptable. This is the biggest issue before Congress and the American people right now.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
@RandPaul What is the House leadership trying to hide? My guess is, they are trying to hide their "Obamacare Lite" approach.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
@RandPaul House and Senate passed repeal in 2015. They should keep their promises and bring them up again for a vote now— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
@RandPaul I demand the House release the text of the bill. Every elected official & every American deserve to know what they're trying to do— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
@RandPaul I will not vote for Obamacare Lite nor will many of my colleagues. We will keep our word. I call on House leaders to do the same— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
@RandPaul And I call on them to make this process transparent and to let the sunshine in. Today.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2017
I’m less interested in the substance of the argument, and more interested in the fact that there’s an argument out in the open at all. As long as the Republicans continue to squabble, and as long as Republicans cannot come up with a replacement plan satisfactory to not just all the Republicans in both chambers, but a fair share of Democrats (50 votes are needed to repeal, but 60 votes are needed in the Senate for a replacement plan), then Obamacare remains relatively safe. Chuck Schumer, in fact, noted this morning that there’s now a 50 percent shot that Obamacare never gets repealed at all.