Sen. Rand Paul came away from a meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump thinking that the administration would be willing to move the health care reconciliation package in his direction.
Paul has called for more of a straight repeal of the 2010 health care law, rather than the partial repeal and replace represented by the measure crafted by Senate GOP leaders.
He was not so sure how open Senate GOP leaders would be to his changes to the proposal to roll back the 2010 health care law, however.
“We have a good rapport, and I think he’s open to trying to make the bill better,” Paul said of Trump, whom he met with before Tuesday afternoon’s busing of GOP senators to the White House to meet with the president after GOP leaders delayed a vote on the health care bill.
Asked who would be in charge of such negotiations, Paul said Trump was the one in charge.
“I think my point man is the president, but you know I really haven’t talked to anybody in the Senate leadership, but we’re open to negotiation,” Paul said. “We’ve got a list that we’ll probably release to the media that we’re going to send that talks about things that we think could make the bill better. The president seemed very open.”
Paul said the existing Senate measure was already moving in the direction of the more moderate GOP senators.
“I think the administration is very willing. The question is, you know we have put tons of money in this thing for the moderates. The question is, are we going to put some deregulation and some things in there to help the marketplace work that conservatives want?” Paul said.
As for the disagreement on health care with his colleague from the commonwealth of Kentucky, Paul said he understood the competing priorities of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The discussion draft from McConnell unveiled last week and revised Monday needed to reflect the diversity of opinions within the Republican Conference, and Paul was among the senators who publicly announced he would oppose the motion to proceed to the current measure.
“I think we have the same goal, and the same goal is we want repeal,” Paul said. “I want for as complete a repeal as we can get … and there’s a mixture of opinions within the caucus. Some want to keep more of Obamacare, and I just think Obamacare has been bad for the country, and bad for the consumer.”