Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was one of the first GOP lawmakers to express his opposition to his party's health care reform bill. He has now gone a step further by criticizing GOP members who back the legislation in its current form.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to postpone a vote on the Senate bill after a number of Republicans declared their opposition to it, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Paul's main concern is that the bill introduced by McConnell does not go far enough in reducing federal expenditure on health care.
"We have nearly $200 billion in insurance bailouts," Paul said, according to the Washington Examiner. "Does anybody remember us complaining that Obamacare had insurance bailouts?"
He went on to accuse some Republicans of changing their position.
"Now, there are Republicans getting so weak-kneed they are saying, oh, we're afraid to repeal the taxes," added Paul. "What happened to these people? They all were for repealing Obamacare. Now there's virtually no one left."
Introducing separate bills to repeal and replace Obamacare is something Paul would be in favor of doing:
You could say to the moderates we are going to give you more spending over here but it's going to be on a separate bill, and then you say to conservatives like me that are worried about the debt and think that we're going to ruin the country -- I can't vote for all that spending -- so if you want my vote, clean up the repeal, don't put all the Christmas ornaments and billion dollar goodies on it, just give me repeal, and if the Democrats and big government Republicans insist on Christmas ornaments that cost $45 billion and $100 billion, it'll be on a different bill.
Since Obamacare was adopted in 2010, Republicans have focused on repealing and replacing it with their own health care system. While former President Barack Obama was still in the White House, congressional Republicans voted several times to overturn the Affordable Care Act, but Obama blocked these efforts.
The Republicans' failure to pass legislation, even though they control both chambers of Congress and the White House, is not just due to opposition from conservatives like Paul.
Other senators, such as Susan Collins and Dean Heller, have expressed doubts about the legislation because they say it goes too far in cutting funding for programs which the poor and needy rely on to secure health care.
This creates added challenges for McConnell, who can only afford to lose two votes if the GOP is to get a bill through the Senate. As the Times noted, concessions he makes to get Collins or Heller on board could alienate Paul or other conservative senators like Mike Lee, and vice versa.