Mon Jul 17, 2017 06:06AM
US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to the media about the Senate Republican health care bill proposal, on June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to the media about the Senate Republican health care bill proposal, on June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US Republican Senator Rand Paul has said he doesn't think his party has the votes to pass the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill.

Paul, a vocal critic of the Republican healthcare plan, said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday that Republicans won elections on their promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the signature health insurance achievement of former President Barack Obama, which covers some 20 million Americans.

But, he said they are unlikely to dismantle the Obamacare law.

 He said the Republican “bill keeps most of the Obamacare taxes, keeps most of the regulations, keeps most of the subsidies," he said.

“And creates something that Republicans have never been for, and that's a giant insurance bailout superfund,” he added.

Paul also suggested that Republicans should first repeal and later replace Obamacare.

"What I've suggested to the president ... if this comes to an impasse, I think if the president jumps into the fray and says 'Look guys, you promised to repeal it, let's just repeal what we can agree to,'" Paul said.

"And then we can continue to try to fix, replace or whatever has to happen afterwards," he continued.

The Kentucky senator also advised Republicans to try to repeal as many of the taxes, regulations and mandates as possible.

After weeks of wrangling, Senate Republicans unveiled a revised version of their healthcare bill on Thursday, with GOP leaders planning a vote, or at least a procedural one, in the upcoming week.

If approved, the Trump administration’s healthcare bill would repeal most of the taxes that paid for Obamacare.

However, the bill faces an uncertain passage in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans have a very narrow majority – 52 to 48. Paul and Susan Collins of Maine have already voiced objection to the motion.

US Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (2nd L) and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (R) pause as they brief members of the media after the weekly Senate Republican Policy Luncheon July 11, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP) 

On Saturday, Republican Senator John McCain that he would be absent in the Senate next week. Without McCain, Republicans would not have had the 50 votes necessary to advance the bill.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will delay consideration of the bill while McCain recovers from surgery.

McCain, 80, underwent a medical procedure at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix on Friday to remove a blood clot from above his left eye, his office announced Saturday afternoon. Doctors ordered a week of rest.

McConnell needs the support of 50 senators to put the bill to a floor debate, making the vote crucial as all Democrats are opposed to the Republican legislation.