- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 12, 2017

President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have tried to present a unified front on the GOP’s health care bill, but a top Republican critic of that legislation on Sunday tried to stoke divisions between the two.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, said flatly that he doesn’t believe the president is fully committed to the legislation as currently written. The House Republican leadership, he added, is presenting a false choice between the status quo or the current alternative proposal backed by Mr. Ryan.

“I think there’s a separation between the two,” Mr. Paul told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I’ve talked to the president I think three times on Obamacare and I hear from him that he’s willing to negotiate. You know what I hear from Paul Ryan? It’s a binary choice, young man. But what does a binary choice mean? His way or the highway?”

Mr. Paul said he doesn’t think the bill, as it stands now, will get the needed 51 votes in the Senate.

For his part, Mr Ryan admitted that not everyone is fully happy with the bill that said that Republicans have an obligation to act.

“Obamacare is collapsing. If we just did nothing, washed our hands of the situation, we would see a further collapse of the health insurance market,” he said on “Face the Nation.” “So, we feel an obligation to step in front of that collapse and replace this law with one that works, that has more freedom.”

Mr. Ryan also said the White House has been extremely helpful in promoting the replacement package and helping craft the details of it.

Administration officials on Sunday stongly promoted the legislation. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “nobody will be worse off financially” under the Republican replacement plan.

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