Ted Cruz: The Obamacare Mess Is Only Going to Get Worse

The Texas senator defends the shutdown and lays out his case against the Affordable Care Act.
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Texas Senator Ted Cruz said he had no regrets over forcing a shutdown of the federal government in a bid to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And he warned that the law will have an upcoming cascade of unpleasant effects beyond those already in evidence.

In an interview with Fox News's Chris Wallace at the Washington Ideas Festival, Cruz said he planned to introduce a bill to repeal and replace the three-year-old health-care overhaul law and dismissed Democratic efforts to find a legislative fix that will to undo its impact on the existing private insurance market, where millions of insurance plans have been cancelled.

"You're seeing lots of Democrats scrambling and they're coming up with lots of proposals and they're all named clever things: 'If you like your plan you can really, really, really keep it.' Listen, I don't think people are interested in some cosmetic Band-Aid. Most of these plans have a good title, but if they passed into law, they'd do next to nothing for the millions of people who have lost their health care. And the thing about Obamacare, the five million who've lost their health care right now is just the beginning of this," Cruz said.

"One of the next shoes that is going to be dropping is you're going to see more and more people realizing they can't keep their doctor. Texas oncology, one of the very best cancer centers in Texas, has just announced it's not going to participate in Obamacare. I've gotta tell you, I've got people who are close friends who are cancer survivors who are discovering now they can't go to their cancer doctor because Obamacare has denied them their doctor," Cruz continued. "That's the next shoe that's going to fall."

This spring, he argued, the public would see premiums go up dramatically. "And then the shoe to drop that I think is most damaging, potentially, is the 90-plus million people who have employer-provided health care. I cannot tell you how many HR directors at big companies have said they're just getting ready to dump their employees off of their health care and onto these exchanges.

"The trade-off that Obamacare was all about—that the president was not honest with the American people about—it was a trade-off that was focused on providing insurance to part of the group of Americans that didn't have insurance. And that is a noble goal," Cruz said. "But that trade-off to provide insurance for tens of millions of people... is that they said we're going to screw up the insurance of the remaining couple 100 million people. I think that's a terrible trade-off."

Cruz said his repeal and replace bill, which he plans to introduce in the coming weeks, would allow people to buy insurance across state lines and create one national marketplace rather than restrict people to state-based marketplaces as the Affordable Care Act has done.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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