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Paul Unmoved By Latest Healthcare Overtures

AP Photo/Adam Beam
Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen Rand Paul tells reporters he plans to vote against a GOP bill that would repeal and replace most of former President Barack Obama's health care law on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.

Kentucky is among the states that would reportedly benefit from funding boosts in the GOP’s revised healthcare bill, but the changes don’t seem to be swaying critics – including Sen. Rand Paul

Politico reports the revised Graham-Cassidy bill contains provisions steering more federal dollars to Kentucky, Alaska, and Arizona – the home states of three lawmakers threatening to derail Republicans’ final push on healthcare ahead of a looming Sept. 30 deadline.

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump also used Twitter to pressure holdouts, saying the states are “big winners in the Healthcare proposal. 7 years of Repeal & Replace and some Senators not there.” At a recent campaign swing through Alabama, Trump sound slightly more optimistic on Paul's eventual vote, telling the audience, "I haven't given up on him, because I think he may come around."

But Democrats accuse the GOP of using fuzzy math to paint Kentucky as a winner.

While the new draft bumps federal funding for the commonwealth by 4 percent, according to leaked documents, critics contend Republicans are omitting the funding cuts that would result from the bill’s Medicaid reforms.

"We're going to shift the funding for the basic Medicaid program that covers older people, covers disabled people, changing that (from) an open-ended, matching system into a per capita cap," Kentucky Equal Justice Center’s Rich Seckel told WUKY Thursday. "So states are going to be squeezed."

So far, the libertarian-leaning lawmaker appears unfazed both by that argument and the latest round of changes, telling colleagues he would only consider voting yes if the block grants in Graham-Cassidy are significantly reduced. Speaking on Meet the Press Sunday, Paul rehearsed now-familiar criticisms of the measure, accusing supporters of merely reshuffling Affordable Care Act spending. Winning his vote, he explained, would take a sizeable decrease in the proposed block grants.

"I would vote to block grant at pre-Obama levels," he said. "If you want to look at 2009 and you said do you want to block grant Medicaid, I would have been a yes."

Paul is one of a handful of GOP senators preventing the party from reaching 50 votes as lawmakers scramble for a legislative win on a central campaign pledge.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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