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Cruz on GOP health reform: 'I believe we can get it done'

July 09, 2017 - 7:10 pm
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(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, expressed optimism that Senate Republicans would reach consensus on a health care bill, saying he believes they can "get it done."

The Texas senator opposes the GOP Senate leadership's current health care bill and recently put forward a proposed amendment for insurance companies to offer potentially cheaper plans in the individual insurance market that may not cover all of the so-called "essential" benefits now required under the Affordable Care Act, such as coverage for maternity care and mental health services.

ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday pressed Cruz about a concern of many health care analysts that "the healthy and wealthier people are going to take the low-cost plans," which would leave people with serious health problems in a high-risk pool where premiums and deductibles could skyrocket, making it unaffordable.

“That's an understandable policy concern,” Cruz said. But he said he doesn't believe there would be a big increase in premiums for those not in the low-cost plans because "there's going to be significant assistance" for people buying the more expensive health plans.

“We've got two major sources of taxpayer revenue -- the first are the tax credits, the second are over $100 billion of stabilization funds,” Cruz said.

The senator said his proposal, called the consumer freedom amendment, is a "compromise" to bring conservative and moderate Senate Republicans together.

“I think really the consumer freedom option is the key to bringing Republicans together and getting this [Obamacare] repeal passed, and what that says is you, the consumer, should be able to choose what health care you want to buy," he said.

Stephanopoulos asked what happens if the Senate health care bill fails.

“It seems like we have two different paths being talked about right now," Stephanopoulos said. "You've got Sen. McConnell in Kentucky last week saying, listen, if this fails, you've got to go work with Democrats to shore up the insurance markets. You've got President Trump … saying, no, we should move to the repeal then replace option. What's your answer?”

"I agree with the president" on repealing the Affordable Care Act first and then replacing it "a year or two years from now," Cruz said.

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