Tags: Ted Cruz | ted cruz | obamacare | repeal and replace

Sen. Cruz: 'We Need to Finish the Job' on Obamacare This Year

Sen. Cruz: 'We Need to Finish the Job' on Obamacare This Year
(Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 January 2018 03:13 PM

Republicans must "finish the job" on repealing and replacing Obamacare this year, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, saying he is urging his fellow Republican senators to pass legislation to do so in order to deliver on one of their major campaign promises before the midterm elections.

"The biggest unfinished task is Obamacare," Cruz said. "We need to finish the job. I still believe it is possible to bring Republicans together. I think we got very close last time and that's something I'm continuing to devote a lot of time trying to unite our fractious conference and build consensus to get at least 50 Republicans on the same page."

Cruz praised the passage of the tax legislation that repealed the penalties for not buying insurance, but admitted that Obamacare still exists, which causes "enormous problems — driving up premiums, making it harder for people to access quality healthcare. We need to deliver on that promise [to repeal and replace], but getting rid of the individual mandate was a big victory and it was a part of repealing Obamacare."

He said that "the only way to proceed with serious reform or repeal legislation is through reconciliation, and so my hope is that we'll take up another budget reconciliation in 2018 to deliver on both Obamacare and Dodd-Frank."

The senator also said he hoped that, with the individual mandate no longer law, the Congressional Budget Office will rescore repeal legislation, because it should drive down its estimate of the number of individuals who would be uninsured under GOP legislation.

Cruz said he was confident that getting rid of the individual mandate in tax reform would make it easier to return to Obamacare repeal in 2018.

"The way to get there is not to start off with a big comprehensive behemoth and try to squeeze everyone in it," he said. Instead, he suggests starting with "consensus ideas" that can get 50 votes and start "assembling from the bottom up."

He said that what last year's failed efforts demonstrated was that Republicans had 45 or 46 "solid" votes for legislation to overturn Obamacare, and that it was possible to sway the additional senators that were needed.

"My view is the way we get to 50 is to focus on lowering premiums," he said. "I think lowering premiums is a win-win for everybody. It's a win for conservatives, a win for moderates. The number one reason people despise Obamacare is that premiums have skyrocketed."

However, during last year's healthcare fight, one of the big roadblocks was that Cruz and other conservatives wanted to lower premiums and encourage competition by attacking Obamacare's vast regulatory infrastructure, which was not supported by other Republicans.

Cruz said he has spent "considerable time" talking with GOP colleagues who opposed repeal last year about ways to address their concerns.

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Republicans must "finish the job" on repealing and replacing Obamacare this year, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, saying he is urging his fellow Republican senators to pass legislation to do so in order to deliver on one of their major...
ted cruz, obamacare, repeal and replace
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2018-13-24
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 03:13 PM
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