Congress needs to finish the job of repealing and replacing Obamacare in 2018, Sen. Ted Cruz says.
Republicans in Congress last year failed to craft a comprehensive repeal-and-replace bill for Obamacare that both the House and the Senate could agree on.
“I think we got very close last time, and that’s something I’m continuing to devote a lot of time [to], trying to unite our fractious conference and build consensus, to get at least 50 Republicans on the same page,” Cruz, R-Texas, told the Washington Examiner this week.
The Texas senator says he has taken the time to sit down with Republicans who voted against the previous attempt to repeal Obamacare and is optimistic new legislation will pass.
Cruz is committed to the issue because he thinks the Republican Party needs to use the repeal-and-replace bill as a “last reconciliation” before the midterm elections in November. Cruz aims to get a bill passed with just 51 votes, getting around a Democratic filibuster.
Getting rid of Obamacare’s individual mandate was a great victory en route to repealing the law, he said, but it’s not enough.
“Since most of Obamacare remains the law, millions of Americans continue to suffer under Obamacare’s framework, with soaring health insurance costs and reduced choices. Many find that their health premiums cost more than their monthly housing costs,” said Marie Fishpaw, director of domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation. “It’s imperative that Congress undo Obamacare’s damage and ensure Americans have better choices for coverage options at more affordable prices.”
“To meet these goals, conservatives stand ready to offer solutions as described in a recent open letter from 13 conservative leaders,” she added.
Republicans have made the repeal and replacement of Obamacare a key campaign promise to voters for seven years now, Cruz said.
He said he supports a health care bill that starts small and builds up, instead of one that packs a lot of different, partisan ideas into it.
Cruz said the way to kick-start such a bill would be to begin by lowering premiums.
“I think lowering premiums is a win-win for everybody. It’s a win for conservatives, a win for moderates. The No. 1 reason people despise Obamacare is that premiums have skyrocketed,” he said.
It’s not going to be easy to get 50 votes, Cruz concedes, but adds that his fellow Republicans need to follow through on their promises as the midterm elections approach.