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For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

Millions of Texas families’ health and well-being would be jeopardized if the legislation were repealed.

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

In 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke on the Senate floor for 21 hours and forced a government shutdown in a failed gambit to kill the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Ten years later, he’s still waging that war.

On Nov. 25, when former President Donald Trump suggested he will repeal Obamacare if he returns to the White House, Cruz was one of the first prominent Republicans to endorse that effort.

“I would love to see us revisit it,” Cruz, who is running for a third term, told NBC News on Nov. 29. “Lowering premiums is critically important to Texans.”

This isn’t the first time Trump and Cruz have been allied on an Obamacare repeal push. In 2017, Cruz authored portions of the American Health Care Act, the Trump-endorsed bill that would have eliminated Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 23 million Americans would have lost their health insurance had the AHCA become law. When Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) cast the single vote that blocked that effort, Cruz was incensed.

“Mark my words, this journey is not yet done,” Cruz told reporters after the bill’s failure.

In the ensuing years, Cruz has routinely lambasted the program on social media. In a February 2018 Twitter post he said, “Few things have been more frustrating than seeing Republicans come short on repealing Obamacare.” In October 2020 he wrote, “I think Obamacare is a trainwreck.” On his current campaign website, he continues to advocate for full repeal.

“Since his first day in office, Sen. Cruz has been a leading voice for repealing Obamacare,” the site says. “He authored legislation repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate that was signed into law and remains committed to a full repeal of Obamacare.”

Texas has the second-highest number of Obamacare enrollees of all the states. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that 2.8 million Texans are insured through the program.

Texas has not expanded Medicaid, which Cruz also opposes. If it did, more than 1.4 million Texans would become eligible for Medicaid.

Cruz’s and Trump’s push is also out of step with public opinion. According to KFF tracking polls, nearly 60% of Americans had a favorable view of Obamacare as of May 2023. Another KFF poll found that 59% of voters trust Democrats, more than Republicans, to handle the program’s future.

A spokesperson for Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, one of the Democrats challenging Cruz in 2024, tweeted on Dec. 1 that it was unconscionable to talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“I want to make sure that every Texan has access to affordable health insurance and affordable prescription drugs,” Allred told Spectrum News 1. “That should be the bare minimum that we can provide in our country.”


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