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Ted Cruz Pushes Junk Amendment that Allows Insurance Companies to Cover Nothing

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) wants nothing to do with Affordable Care and can’t wait to find a way to dismantle the program.

Late last week, Cruz said he thought he may have found the way and his Republican senate colleagues seem to agree with him.

Cruz is pushing a provision to the Republican health care bill that allows insurance companies to sell plans that do not comply with the provisions of Obamacare.

His provision, if adopted, will allow companies to sell cheap plans that cover next to nothing.

Health experts believe that if Cruz’s provision is included and the GOP bill becomes law, most Americans will no longer afford health insurance as experts believe insurance companies will opt to sell these junk policies that do not provide needed coverage.

Although there is no guarantee that the provision will pass budgetary scrutiny, most Republican leaders in the Senate and House say they think adding the provision to their bill will improve its chances of passing both houses.

See also: GOP Proposed Medicaid Cuts Could Be the End of Rural Hospitals.

South Carolina Republican and House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows smiled broadly when asked about the Cruz provision.

He said he will surely vote for the bill if the Cruz provision is included and he believes majority of his Freedom Caucus members will be willing to support the bill as well.

“If the Cruz consumer choice amendment gets there, yes I can support it without the MacArthur amendment in there because I think it gives everybody some options,” Congressman Meadows told reporters over the weekend.

Senate GOP leaders are so sure they have the amendment that could push the bill through, they sent two versions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act,
aka Trumpcare to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for analysis.

As has been the case throughout this GOP health care bill drafting process, GOP leaders are refusing to release the text of the Cruz amendment.

GOP leaders fear that even if their bill passes the U.S. Senate, it may fail during the reconciliation process since they will still need members of the Freedom Caucus to pass any amended bill through the House of Representatives.

Most House GOP members agreed to support the earlier House bill after the addition of an amendment by Rep. Tom MacArthur, Republican of New Jersey, that allowed for waivers from Obamacare provisions requiring not charging sick Americans more, and coverage of “essential” services like maternity care and mental health.

“Right now I’m looking at the Cruz consumer choice amendment as the primary vehicle that makes the most sense to me and I applaud him for stepping out,” Meadows added.

“We’re trying to help figure it out because there’s a lot of support for what he’s trying to do,” Senate Majority Whip and fellow Texas, John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters later.

GOP leaders pushing the Cruz amendment said they also hope it will help bring Mike Lee (R-Utah) on board. Sen. Lee said the reason he refused to support an earlier version of the senate bill is that it did not lower the health care cost enough.

“For all my frustrations about the process and my disagreements with the substance of [the Better Care Reconciliation Act], I would still be willing to vote for it if it allowed states and/or individuals to opt-out of the Obamacare system free-and-clear to experiment with different forms of insurance, benefits packages, and care provision options,” Lee wrote in a Medium post last month.

Experts believe moderate Senate Republicans may bulk at the addition of the Cruz amendment for the same reason conservative members love it – it covers next to nothing.

“It hasn’t been fleshed out yet, so I believe pre-existing conditions ought to be covered, and we shouldn’t deny people coverage with pre-existing conditions, so that would have to be worked out. There are a lot of moving parts,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) responded when asked about the Cruz amendment.

Maine Senator Susan Collins indicated earlier today that she will still vote against the GOP bill, even with the Cruz amendment included.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) slammed the bill on Fox News over the weekend saying “the bill is just being lit up like a Christmas tree full of billion-dollar ornaments. And it’s not repeal.”

Besides Senators Paul and Collins, seven other Senators have also indicated they will be voting against the bill although their reasons for the decisions vary.

Senate leaders cannot afford to loose more than two GOP Senators because no Democrat is willing to vote for the bill.


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