Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cruz says current GOP health plan 'cannot pass'

As a number of other Republican senators line up against TrumpCare, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned that he doesn’t think that the bill can pass in its current form. Speaking to The Hill, Cruz said, “The House bill is a beginning. The House bill as drafted, I do not believe, would pass the United States Senate.”

In his measured comments, Cruz declined to say if he would support the current bill, but indicated that he is working with other congressmen to improve the Republican plan. “There is not nearly enough in the House bill to drive down the cost of premiums,” he said. “I [also] believe there [are] significant challenges with the Medicaid expansion provision.”

Preserving the Medicaid expansion in the near term was a requirement of the Medicaid Four, a quartet of centrist Republican senators from states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare. The four said that they would not vote for a bill that did not provide an orderly transition from Medicaid to new coverage. The current bill preserves federal funding for the expanded version of Medicaid until 2020.

Cruz said that he favors a bill that provides block grants to states for Medicaid. Block grants would allow the states more freedom in how to spend federal money allocated to the government health program.

Later, Cruz and his family attended a dinner with President Trump. This was undoubtedly a part of Trump’s charm offensive that aims to bring wavering Republicans on board with TrumpCare. Cruz posted photos of the event and called the Trumps “warm and gracious.”

There is no indication that the dinner with the president altered Cruz’s views on the Republican health plan, but in his comments prior to the meeting Cruz did express more optimism about the future of repeal than many of his colleagues.

“I believe we can and will repeal Obamacare,” he told reporters. “I believe at the end of the day we will get to yes.”

Originally published on the Resurgent

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