The arithmetic for health care advocates is pretty simple: sometime over the next 12 days, Senate Republicans are yet again going to try to pass an overhaul of the American health care system. If three or more GOP senators break ranks, the bill will fail. If not, it'll pass and probably become law.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) keeps insisting he's one of the three "no" votes, but no one's sure whether to believe him.
The Kentucky senator first announced his opposition to the plan eight days ago, though many assumed he was just posturing. The Republican started putting his position in writing, and still, few believed he was sincere. Rand Paul went on Fox News to explain that he really does oppose the Graham-Cassidy plan, and again, much of the political world thought he didn't mean it.
So yesterday afternoon, the Kentucky Republican hosted a press briefing of sorts in order to say he's quite serious about his rejection of the legislation. Vox explained:
On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voiced clear and staunch opposition to the Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson proposal -- the last remaining Obamacare repeal plan that would block-grant Obamacare funding, cap federal health care spending, and send the money to the states to come up with their own health care programs.
"It keeps 90 percent of Obamacare and redistributes the proceeds," Paul said in a meeting with reporters in his office Monday. He continued: "I don't think anybody has realized the enormity of this. Obamacare took a long time to get in place. It took them a year to get their website. Can you imagine now every state has got to go through this? Start completely over with all the subsidies. Some states might want subsidies, some won't, some states might go to single-payer. I think it will be a chaotic nature for two years. It's not repeal. It's another incarnation of Republican replace. But not repeal."
Asked yesterday if anything could change his mind about the Graham-Cassidy bill, Paul replied, "Not on this bill."
And yet, even as I type this, there's a part of me that finds it hard to believe he'll follow through and keep his word. To be sure, Paul would look ridiculous if he reversed course on the bill after going out of his way to flaunt his opposition, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.