One of the Affordable Care Act's biggest foes will be signing his family up for Obamacare after all, CNN reports
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz previously had been receiving health insurance benefits through his wife Heidi's job. But Cruz on Monday announced he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, so his wife took an unpaid leave of absence for the duration of his campaign, and that makes her ineligible for company benefits.
Heidi Nelson Cruz is a managing director at the Houston office of Goldman Sachs. On Monday, during his announcement, Cruz stressed again that he wants to repeal the entire law as soon as possible.
"We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange," Cruz told CNN Tuesday afternoon.
CNN termed Cruz's move onto the federal exchange as "ironic." CNN's Dana Bash appeared dumbfounded.
"But senator, for right now, the irony is just kind of unbelievable that you have made your name fighting against Obamacare and now you're going to sign up getting your insurance through that very process: Obamacare," Bash told him.
But Cruz dismissed that interpretation, saying he is only following the law.
"I believe we should follow the text of every law, even [a] law I disagree with," Cruz said. "It's one of the real differences — if you look at President Obama and the lawlessness, if he disagrees with a law he simply refuses to follow it or claims the authority to unilaterally change."
And Cruz said he will continue fighting to overturn Obamacare.
"What is problematic about Obamacare is that it is killing millions of jobs in this country and has killed millions of jobs," Cruz told CNN. "It has forced millions of people into part-time work. It has caused millions of people to lose their insurance, to lose their doctors and to face skyrocketing insurance premiums. That is unacceptable."
Earlier Tuesday, Cruz also stressed to The Des Moines Register
, which first broke the story, that he is committed to seeing the law abolished.
"I believe in 2017 a new president, a Republican president, will sign legislation repealing every word of it. There are a fair number of Republicans in Washington and elsewhere who have quietly and privately given up on that fight, and I have not," he said.
Democrats could not contain their glee. The Democratic National Committee immediately fired off the Register article to reporters with a subject line referencing the number of people who gained coverage through the law: "16.4 million + 1."
Cruz could go without insurance, or his family could get its coverage directly from an insurance company at what would likely be a far higher rate than is available via an exchange. Doing so would mean Cruz would not get the contribution from his employer to help offset the full cost of his coverage.
Asked about his plans for healthcare insurance on Tuesday, Rick Tyler, a Cruz spokesman, said Cruz and his family had not yet settled on an option or the financial implications of such a choice.
"Let's let them make a decision on what coverage they'll get before we start speculating on every variable," Tyler said.
Cruz has been a vocal critic of the healthcare law and, in 2013, set in motion a partial government shutdown as part of an unsuccessful effort to choke off funding for the law.
Democrats continued to highlight Tuesday night that Cruz is now enrolling in a program he frequently criticizes.
"The Affordable Care Act, by design, helps Americans who have gaps in employment get coverage, and it's working," Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman said. "We encourage others to follow presidential candidate Ted Cruz to www.HealthCare.gov and get covered."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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