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Make It Or Break It? Cruz’s Opinion Plays Critical Role

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Make It Or Break It? Cruz’s Opinion Plays Critical Role

After all the debate and all of the controversy, the fate of ObamaCare repeal and replace could all hinge on one amendment from Senator Ted Cruz. The Texas Senator is vying for a provision that will allow insurers to sell plans that do not comply with ObamaCare insurance regulations as long as they also sell plans that do comply with those rules. Cruz maintains that if we give insurers a way around the regulations it will allow them to offer other plans at a lower cost.
It is not apparent whether the amendment will be added to the Senate bill, and it is unclear whether it would pass under budgetary rules. But some believe the amendment could be the key to ensuring that the legislation passes both the House and the Senate.
Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said that he could support the Senate bill if the Cruz amendment is included. “If the Cruz Consumer Choice amendment gets there, yes I can support it without the MacArthur amendment in there because I think it gives everybody some options,” Meadows told reporters late last week.
The actual text of the Cruz amendment as not been released to the public yet, but the core of the legislation is for the plans that don’t adhere to the ObamaCare rules to be cheaper than those that do. And for most conservatives, lowering the premiums is the key to getting their votes. It has taken a huge effort for the majority of the Republicans to get those in the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus to agree on a bill, and they couldn’t pass a bill with them. Many in the Freedom Caucus were won over after the addition of an amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). That amendment would allow states to apply for waivers to opt out of certain core ObamaCare regulations, such as a ban from charging sick people more and the requirement that they cover a list of “essential” services like maternity and mental health care.
Some in the Senate are seeing the Cruz amendment as an acceptable substitute for the House’s MacArthur amendment. “Right now I’m looking at the Cruz consumer Choice amendment as the primary vehicle that makes the most sense to me,” Meadows said, “and I applaud him for stepping out.”
It seems that the Cruz amendment may also get the support of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). He quickly opposed the Senate bill as it is now because it didn’t lower the cost enough for the consumer. Lee wrote, “for all my frustrations about the process and my disagreements with the substance of [the Better Care Reconciliation Act], I would still be willing to vote for it if it allowed states and/or individuals to opt-out of the Obamacare system free-and-clear to experiment with different forms of insurance, benefits packages, and care provision options.”
The questions Senate moderates have about the Cruz amendment are: keeping protections for pre-existing conditions, the potential Medicaid provisions and whether or not it meets the strict requirements of reconciliation.
In the present controversy regarding how and when a new healthcare bill can be passed, the Cruz amendment seems to be playing a critical role. What are your thoughts?
Credit: The Hill

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