On Thursday, when House GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a meeting to find out exactly what the GOP leadership planned to do about Obamacare, one person who genuinely wants to end Obamacare rather than replace it with Obamacare Lite was told he could not see any of its details.
As The Washington Post reports, that person just happened to be Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who discovered where the meeting was being held.
Paul wasn’t kidding; despite the fact that the meeting was guarded by Capitol Police officers, Paul strode up to the door and informed a House staff member, “I’d like a copy of the bill.” After being rebuffed, Paul turned to the reporters who had followed him. He stated, “We’re here today because I’d like to read the Obamacare bill. If you’d recall, when Obamacare was passed in 2009 and 2010, Nancy Pelosi said you’ll know what’s in it after you pass it. The Republican Party shouldn’t act in the same way.” Paul added, “In my state, in Kentucky, it’s illegal to do this. This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as if this were a plot to invade another country.”
In 2010, when Obamacare was being considered, Pelosi had told the National Association of Counties: “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
Arguing that the GOP would not resort to such chicanery, this week House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told NBC’s Today, “We’re not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people’s front door.”
Paul continued, “What we’re hearing rumors of is that parts of Obamacare are left in place. For example, the ‘Cadillac tax’ will be left in place but renamed. The individual mandate will be left in place, and instead of paying the government a penalty, you’ll be paying an insurance penalty. These, to me, are Democrat ideas.” He concluded, “We will put a formal protest in now. This is the beginning of this. I expect public pressure will get them to release this.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who sides with Paul, echoed, “We asked for the score and all that. We were told we’ll have that by the time it gets to the floor. We need to have that now! You can’t have a discussion about this proposal independent from costs. It’s ridiculous. That’s kind of like, just ‘vote it to see what’s in it.’ ”
Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong protested, “The Energy and Commerce Committee members are working on their portion of the health-care repeal and replace plan. We would refer you to the committee for more.”
Rep. Chris Collins, who sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee, offered, “We’re still planning on moving this as quick as we can. It’s going to take three weeks. A week here, a week in Budget and a week in Rules — we want to get it going.”