Senator Ted Cruz revealed Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation that he and fellow conservative stalwarts Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Mark Meadows met with President Trump on Saturday to discuss Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, with a focus on legislation that would result in decreased premiums.
“The number one issue is premiums,” Cruz stated. “My biggest concern with the House bill is that it doesn’t lower premiums … If Republicans hold a big press conference and pat ourselves on the back that we’ve repealed Obamacare and everyone’s premiums keep going up, people will be ready to tar and feather us in the streets – and quite rightly.”
Cruz also stated that he’d been speaking around the clock with Congressional leaders about the need to completely repeal and replace Obamacare in one fell swoop as opposed to the three-step process currently being proposed by Paul Ryan and the Trump administration – a process which would require Democratic support in order to pass the Senate, a result of which the Texas firebrand said flatly, “that ain’t gonna happen.”
Conservative leaders are proposing a full repeal and replace via budget reconciliation, including the expansion of Health Savings Accounts and allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines as means of reducing premiums. Because it does not include such elements, Cruz says he cannot support the House bill in its current form.
“I cannot vote for any bill that keeps premiums rising.”
The effort is just the latest in a string of several by conservative leaders (including Cruz, Meadows, Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse and others) to promote a full single-phase repeal and replace action.
Whether the meeting with Trump will result in substantive change to the repeal effort remains to be seen, but Cruz says he believes that the President is listening to the conservatives’ arguments. A strong grassroots campaign would no doubt help the cause. To share your thoughts, visit the White House contact page here.
Watch the full Face the Nation interview here.