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Rand Paul signs up for Obamacare exchange: ‘Made me an unhappy person’

December 05, 2013 | | Comments 3

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul speaks with reporters in Midway, Ky., on May 24, 2013. Photo by Jack Brammer | Staff

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul speaks with reporters in Midway, Ky., on May 24, 2013. Photo by Jack Brammer | Staff

By Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

ALEXANDRIA — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, an outspoken opponent of President Barack Obama’s health care law, described his frustration upon signing up for the Washington, D.C., exchange, which the senator did Wednesday.

Paul spoke to reporters Thursday after an event in Northern Kentucky, saying that the law is not a success in Kentucky despite the high interest and thousands who have enrolled.

“It made me an unhappy person,” Paul said, chuckling.

Paul said the process took him more than two hours, and several times he lost the information he had entered into the troubled website.

“I got all the way through with Obamacare one time, and then I lost all my information,” he said.

When asked how to fix the health care law, Paul said, “I’m not sure if there is a fix.”

“I will vote to try to make it less bad if possible,” he said.

Paul took issue with the suggestion that Kentucky’s implementation has been a success; it has been hailed by Democrats around the country, including Obama.

“People are saying Kentucky is a success — 280,000 people have been canceled by their insurance,” he said.

The state’s junior senator, flirting openly with a White House run in 2016, spent Thursday touring the state continuing to sell his idea for “Economic Freedom Zones” — suspended and lowered tax rates for areas of the country where unemployment rates are well above the national average.

The senator stopped and spoke to reporters at almost every stop, invariably hearing questions about the Republican primary between U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Louisville businessman Matt Bevin.

Paul reiterated that he is still endorsing McConnell but added that he “tries to be nice to all Republicans” and hopes that it will be “a healthy process and not a destructive one.”

Paul was stuck in an awkward position last month when observers began to wonder how devoted he was to his endorsement of McConnell, noting his kind words for Bevin the day the challenger filed to make his run official.

Specifically, there was some question about whether Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager and a longtime ally of the Paul family, had angered Paul last month; Benton and Paul had seemed at odds when Benton tried to qualify kind words Paul had for Bevin.

Paul on Thursday laughed off the idea that the dust-up had led to an awkward Thanksgiving, as Benton is married to Paul’s niece. The senator said Benton is doing his job by defending his candidate.

“I try to take it with a grain of salt the things that he says,” Paul said. “He’s doing his job, and I’m trying to present my position the best I can.”

The senator was asked what he thought about the race and whether he has seen evidence that Bevin is gaining traction against McConnell.

“Just from what I’ve seen, I don’t think it’s particularly close at this point,” Paul said.

He added: “My guess would be that the general election is fairly close.”

Analyzing state politics, Paul said he has no plans to endorse in a Republican gubernatorial primary that is likely to include former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner, who told the Herald-Leader this week he will likely announce his run early next year, and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

“I’d say it’s at least a 50/50 shot you’ll get a Republican win in 2015,” Paul said.

The senator also weighed in on next week’s special election in the state House 7th District to replace former Rep. John Arnold, who resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment.

Paul said he has circulated emails on behalf of Suzanne Miles, the Republican candidate, who is locked in a tight race with Democrat Kim Humphrey.

“I think (Miles) has a good chance,” Paul said. “You know, the Owensboro area has become pretty conservative.”

Filed Under: Federal GovernmentRand Paul

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  1. Bill Ayer says:

    Wait a minute, I thought the GOP was telling us that the House and Senate were exempt from the ACA.

  2. Honeyboy+Wilson says:

    Don’t feel so sad, Senator. I have insurance through my employer and it took me several hours and help from an expert to get signed up this year. And it had nothing to do with the ACA. Plan options can be confusing. And the web site I was using was difficult to navigate. That’s just the nature of a complicated process like signing up for health insurance.

    (Plus, leaving this comment is kind of hard too).

  3. PaulIdiot says:

    Paul tries to be a “sofisiticated” politician and “stratgist” by making carefully constructed remarks that energize an ignorant base. This article was a waste of energy, electrons, and space.