Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ted Cruz backtracks on Obamacare sign-up, says he's 'still weighing options'

I Ted Cruz's health insurance story has taken another twist. The backstory: his wife has chosen to take an unpaid leave from her job at Goldman Sachs for the duration of his presidential campaign, and with it goes her employer-subsidized insurance. So Cruz announced that he'd have to go on Obamacare because it was the law. At which point many of us said "nuh-uh." Now, in light of the fact that the law isn't making him do it, Cruz's new spokesguy for his presidential campaign says okay, the law isn't really making him do it, but yeah, the law is making him do it.
"Senator Cruz and his wife are still weighing options for their family," [Rick] Tyler wrote in an email to POLITICO when asked about the senator's current thinking on enrolling in an ACA health insurance exchange, adding that the senator would make a decision shortly.

Tyler said that Cruz—who has vigorously opposed and vowed to repeal Obamacare — was subject to a law with which he disagrees. "That's like saying he's not going to pay the taxes he voted against," he wrote. […]

Cruz’s statement that he would "presumably" sign up for insurance through Obamacare—first reported Tuesday by the Des Moines Register—has delighted many progressives. Several liberalblogs have argued that the senator would be actively choosing to enroll in Obamacare—not being compelled under law, as he has suggested—given his ability to apply for private insurance or possibly to get COBRA coverage.

"Obamacare has driven the whole industry, though," Tyler said when pressed on that point in a separate phone interview. "It's not as if the new private plans have been all preserved. They haven't. Everything was affected by Obamacare."

So now the story is that, well, okay, the law doesn't make him pick an Obamacare plan, but evil Obamacare has swallowed up the whole health insurance industry so he won't have a choice. That's news to the 15 to 25 million people who had non-Obamacare, individual insurance plans in 2014. We have pressed Cruz into one concession—taxpayers won't be paying for his insurance: "Listen, I have zero intention of taking any government subsidy or Obama subsidy. Rather, what I'm going to do is pay in the marketplace for health insurance for my family, just like millions of Americans." So there's that.

Of course, Cruz can afford to pay for health insurance without an employer assist or subsidies. Millions of Americans can't, which doesn't make a damned bit of difference to Cruz. This "man of the people" doesn't have any problem with taking away their subsidies, and taking away their health insurance.

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