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Repeal Cheerleader Ted Cruz to Debate Health Care Champion Beto O’Rourke

By September 21, 2018No Comments

Will Cruz Own His Repeal and Sabotage Record, Including Support for GOP’s Lawsuit Targeting Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions?

Washington, DC – Tonight — on the heels of a new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) for Protect Our Care showing the race is a dead heat — health care champion Rep. Beto O’Rourke debates one of the GOP’s biggest cheerleaders for repealing protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Ted Cruz. Said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, ahead of tonight’s debate:

“From his repeated votes for repeal, to his vocal support for the Trump-GOP lawsuit to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions overnight, to his vote to cut billions from Medicare and Medicaid, Ted Cruz’s anti-health care record is out of step with Texas voters who say that health care is one of the most important issues to them this election. The question is whether Ted Cruz will step onto the debate stage owning the damage he’s done to health care, or if he’ll follow Trump, Hawley, Heller and the rest of the GOP and try to hide from it.”

Key Findings from the Protect Our Care-PPP Poll of Texas Voters:

  • Sixty-two percent of voters say health care is the most important or a very important issue for them this election.  
  • Sixty-two percent of voters say the elimination of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, supported by Ted Cruz, is “a major concern.”
  • Texas voters oppose the Texas attorney general and Trump administration’s lawsuit to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions by a 40 point margin, 59 percent to 19 percent.
  • Sixty percent of voters say the “Age Tax” supported by Ted Cruz is “a major concern.”
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of Texas voters oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act and instead want to keep what works and fix what doesn’t.
  • The survey finds Cruz and O’Rourke in a dead heat, with 48 percent of voters supporting Cruz, 45 percent supporting O’Rourke and eight percent undecided.

What Would Repeal of Health Care in Texas Mean?

  • It would undo protections for 11,579,100 Texans with pre-existing conditions if they buy coverage on their own
  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for up to 963,000 Texans would disappear
  • Full repeal would end improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
  • No more allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
  • Insurance companies could once again impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage
  • Insurance companies could also once again discriminate against women
  • Limits on out-of-pocket costs would be eliminated
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable would disappear
  • Small business tax credits would be eliminated

Ted Cruz Is One of the Senate’s Top Cheerleaders For Repeal

Cruz’s First Piece Of Legislation Was To “Fully Repeal Obamacare.”  “Since Sen. Cruz took office, he has been a leading voice for repealing Obamacare. In fact, the first piece of legislation he filed, co-sponsored by 32 Republicans, was to fully repeal Obamacare Before the law went into effect in January 2014, Sen. Cruz led the effort to halt its implementation and defund Obamacare, filibustering it on the floor for an historic 21 hours.” [Cruz.Senate.Gov, accessed 9/21/18]

2013: Cruz Led The Republican Effort To Shut Down The Government Over Funding For The ACA.  “ In 2013, Cruz, along with conservatives in the House, demanded that any spending bill also delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, who still had control of the chamber in 2013, were never going to support such a move. But enough House Republicans wouldn’t go for a funding bill that didn’t defund Obamacare, setting up a showdown that shut down government for more than two weeks. (In the end, Cruz and the conservative House faction did not win policy concessions.) Republicans were largely blamed for the shutdown. Cruz’s theatrics inspired the ire not just of Democrats, but of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, who felt Cruz knew his self-righteous gambit was doomed to fail, but went ahead with it anyway to raise his own political profile at his party’s expense.” [Vox, 1/22/18]

2015:  Cruz Voted To Repeal Most Of The ACA.  Cruz voted for legislation that gutted the Affordable Care Act by eliminating the insurance exchanges and subsidies, and repealing the Medicaid expansion accepted by 30 states, including Nevada.  [HR 3762, Roll Call Vote #114, 12/3/15]

2017:  Cruz Voted For The Senate “Repeal And Delay” Plan.  Cruz voted for Obamacare Repeal and Replacement Act was a Republican effort to repeal the ACA without a replacement.  Known as “repeal and delay,” the bill repealed major sections of the ACA, including the Medicaid expansion and premium tax credits, in 2020.  [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #169, 7/26/17]

  • If Repeal and Delay became law, 32 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2026. 18 million Americans would lose health coverage just in the first year after repeal.
  • Health insurance premiums would double for those in the individual market.

2017: Cruz Voted For The Better Care Reconciliation Act.  Cruz voted for the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which repealed and replaced the ACA.    [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #168, 7/25/17]

2017:  Cruz Voted For “Skinny Repeal” Of The ACA. Cruz voted for “Skinny Repeal” of the ACA, which repealed the individual mandate and delayed the employer mandate while leaving most of the rest of the law in place.  [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #179, 7/28/17]

According To  CBO, Skinny Repeal Would Have Resulted In The Largest Coverage Loss in American History:

    • At minimum, 15 million Americans would lose coverage in 2018.  This would have been the biggest one-year increase in our nation’s history.
    • Premiums would go up by roughly 20 percent

2018:  Ted Cruz: “We Need To Finish The Job” On Obamacare.  “Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Wednesday said Republicans needed to ‘finish the job” on repealing and replacing Obamacare in 2018, and he is pushing his colleagues to use one last reconciliation bill before the midterms to deliver on their long-running promise.” [Washington Examiner, 1/24/18]

Cruz Supports The GOP Lawsuit To Eliminate Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Ted Cruz Said It Was “Reasonable” To Argue ACA’s Preexisting Conditions Rules Are Now Unconstitutional.  “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), as vociferous an Obamacare critic as you’ll find, sounds on board with the latest legal challenge to the health care law that could lead to protections for people with preexisting conditions being found unconstitutional. Cruz told Vox that he thought the Justice Department’s position in the lawsuit, that the law’s rules on preexisting conditions should be invalidated along with the individual mandate, was ‘reasonable’ and defended the foundation of the case being brought by his home state of Texas in a brief interview at the Capitol.” [Vox, 6/15/18]

  • Cruz Claimed The Lawsuit Would Result In “More Competition, More Options, More Individual Freedom And Lower Premiums.” “‘Those parts that the court explicitly upheld under the taxing power, the Department of Justice conceded, under the court’s reasoning, no longer had a constitutional basis,’ Cruz, who studied law at Harvard and served as Texas’s solicitor general before coming to Congress, told me. ‘ think that is a reasonable position for the Justice Department to take.’ ‘I think the consequence if the court agrees with the state of Texas’s lawsuit will be that consumers will have more choices, more competition, more options, more individual freedom and lower premiums,’ he continued. ‘That’s a win for health care consumers across the country.’”  [Vox, 6/15/18]

Cruz Voted for the Republican Tax Bill That Hurts Texans Health

Ted Cruz was a key vote for the Republican tax bill, which repealed a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that required most people to have health coverage which will result in more people without coverage, higher costs and devastated insurance markets.  

The tax bill also explodes the debt, meaning Medicare could be cut.  Republicans are already talking about the need to cut Medicare and Social Security even more to deal with the $1.5 trillion this tax bill adds to the national debt. On the chopping block: Medicare and Social Security. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently said, “we’ve got a lot of work to do in cutting spending.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was more explicit, saying, “We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future.”

Tax Bill Means Higher Costs, Especially for Older Texans. One estimate shows in Texas alone, family premiums in the marketplace will increase on average by $1,730 in 2019. The AARP estimates a 64-year-old Texan will have to pay $1,279 more in premiums because of health repeal, essentially an age tax for people over 50.

One Million Texans Could Lose Coverage. As a result of the tax bill, an estimated 1,036,000 Texans  will lose coverage by 2025.  

This plan showered tax breaks on wealthy Americans and giant corporations at the expense of working people. The Tax Policy Center found that the richest 0.1 percent will get a nearly $150,000 tax break.

  • Under the tax bill, our tax code is more rigged than ever before, with 83 percent of these tax cuts going to the top 1 percent.
  • The plan permanently slashes tax rates for the biggest corporations by $1.4 trillion, a 40 percent tax break, and cuts the top individual tax rate that millionaires pay. The plan further incentivizes corporations to ship jobs overseas by giving them a permanently lower tax rate if they do so.