U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Thursday provided a witty rebuttal to CNN’s coverage of his “Consumer Freedom” amendment to the Republican’s health care bill and he did it in one tweet.
This started when Senate Republicans released a revised draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the bill that is meant to replace the Affordable Care Act, that included his consumer freedom and health savings account provisions.
“For nearly five months, I have been working closely with my Senate colleagues from across the ideological spectrum to honor our commitment to voters, to provide more choices for consumers, put people in control of their healthcare, and most importantly, lower health insurance premiums,” Cruz said in a released statement. “I am encouraged that the revised bill ensures consumers have the freedom to choose among more affordable plans that are tailored to their individual healthcare needs and expands health savings accounts so that consumers can pay health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis.
“This is a critical step in the right direction and I will continue to work closely with my colleagues to unite our conference around a bill that can pass, and that honors our promises and that truly lowers premiums, which is crucial to providing relief from Obamacare,” he added.
Cruz states his Consumer Freedom Amendment will do the following things:
- If an insurer sells a sufficient number of Obamacare-compliant plans within a rating area on a state’s exchange, then that insurer may sell any other plan within that rating area that consumers desire off-exchange (Freedom Plans).
- These Freedom Plans will still be subject to state insurance protections. Premiums of applicable Freedom Plans may be paid from HSAs.
- Obamacare’s insurance regulations, including preexisting conditions, are maintained for on-exchange plans, and consumers have the choice to buy plans subject to these regulations on Obamacare’s exchanges.
- In order to reduce costs, these on-exchange Obamacare-compliant plans will continue to receive federal premium tax credits and dedicated sources of federal stability funding.
CNN tweeted their coverage of the bill:
— CNN (@CNN) July 13, 2017
Cruz responded to the tweet:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 13, 2017
CNN would have been wise to call Obamacare the “so-called Affordable Care Act” since 2013, premium costs have increased on average by 105%. In fact, in certain individual markets premiums have risen as high as 223 percent as Alabama consumers are experiencing. Alaska has seen a 203 percent increase. Oklahoma premiums have gone up 201 percent. Arizona’s individual insurance premiums increased by 190 percent. North Carolina and Tennessee have seen their state’s individual insurance marketplace premiums go up by 176 percent.
This is affordable?
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services announced that by 2018 44 percent all U.S. counties will have zero or only one provider participating on the Obamacare exchanges.
— HHS.gov (@HHSGov) July 12, 2017
Even with Cruz’s amendment, the Senate health care bill will still be a hard sell for conservatives who want to see Obamacare completely repealed.
“The new Senate health care bill is substantially different from the version released last month and it is unclear to me whether it has improved,” U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) said. “I will need time to study the new version and speak with experts about whether it does enough to lower health insurance premiums for middle class families.”
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is disturbed by the crony capitalism that exists in the bill.
“But the one certainty of the Senate GOP health plan is that it guarantees a profit for Big Insurance. The same Big Insurance that takes in about $15 billion in profit annually,” he wrote in an op/ed for The Washington Examiner published on Thursday. “Am I the only one in the Senate that finds this brand of crony capitalism unseemly?”
However, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) may be a yes vote because of the amendment. Johnson joined Cruz, Lee, Paul and U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) in delaying the Senate vote on the bill.
The fate of the bill is still in doubt, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the annual August recess so members can work on passing the bill.