Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday ripped into President Barack Obama's "smug" boast that 7.5 million signups for Affordable Care Act coverage indicated a "final score" of success.
In an interview with Fox News, the Texas Republican said the president was willfully ignoring the myriad problems with Obamacare.
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"He's trying to sweep all of those problems under the rug," Cruz charged.
But Obama's comments praising
outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were particularly irksome, Cruz said.
In a White House Rose Garden speech, the president said his administration "lost" the first quarter
of the six-month open enrollment period for Obamacare because of the HealthCare.gov problems.
But, he added, "Under Kathleen's leadership, her team at HHS turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done, and the final score speaks for itself. There are 7.5 million people across the country that have the security of health insurance, most of them for the very first time, and that's because of the woman standing here beside me."
Cruz said those numbers don't account for the millions who are left out in the cold.
"You know, I thought the most revealing statement that the president made was the smug statement about the … 'final score,'" Cruz told Fox News. "He has viewed Obamacare from day one as just a political battle.
"This is not a political battle," Cruz raged. "Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work and lost their health insurance and lost their doctor or are seeing their premiums skyrocket. Every time I travel home to Texas, I see men and women who are scared and [have] lost their health insurance."
Cruz said the real reason Sebelius resigned is "because Senate Democrats are scared."
"They're running scared because every one of them in their races across the country, they're underwater," he said. "They're losing because Obamacare has hurt so many millions of people, and I think it was Senate Democrats who demanded Kathleen Sebelius' head, and I think that's exactly what we saw what happen [Thursday]."
Cruz said he would use the confirmation hearing of the next HHS secretary to call for the repeal of Obamacare. "I think [nominee Sylvia] Burwell presents an ideal opportunity to examine the failures that are Obamacare. And four years ago, reasonable minds could have differed over whether this thing might work.
"Today, seeing the disaster, seeing the train wreck that is Obamacare, in my view, it is the essence of pragmatism to acknowledge this thing isn't working. We need to start over, repeal every word of it. Start over."
Cruz said the confirmation hearings on Burwell will be not only "time for the Senate to assess [her] qualifications" but "to examine the failures of Obamacare."
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