Cruz offers best chance of fixing healthcare law

Peter Heck:
Conservatives Should Follow Cruz on Republican Health Plan

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... the smartest way forward for conservatives may not be obstinate dismissal of the AHCA, but instead the measured and deliberate approach to improve it by of one of the Senate’s most consistent conservatives: Ted Cruz.

If there’s one man in Washington who can’t be accused of willingness to compromise conservatism on the healthcare issue, it’s Cruz. It was Cruz who led an 18-hour filibuster against Obamacare even when he was blasted by his own party leadership for doing so. It was Cruz who worked so tirelessly to defund the travesty that it forced a government shutdown much to the consternation of fellow, weaker Republicans. It was Cruz who recently squared off against socialized medicine proponent Bernie Sanders on his home turf of CNN, schooling the Vermont demagogue on the merits of free enterprise. And it is Cruz who has outlined in his own Politico piece the details of full repeal he desires.

Of anyone, Cruz has earned conservatives’ confidence and trust on the issue. So when he demurs from running down the newly-unveiled AHCA saying, “I’m not interested in labels, I’m interested in substance,” he deserves a hearing. That isn’t to say that the Texas Senator doesn’t have serious concerns about the content of the law as written. James Arkin reports at RealClearPolitics:

“Cruz hasn’t shied away from his concerns with the legislation. He takes issue with the structure of tax credits included to help people afford insurance, saying he doesn’t think “creating new entitlements is the right approach.” He said the Medicaid expansion should freeze enrollment immediately, not in 2020 as is currently written. And he advocated for a block grant approach to Medicaid, rather than the per capita allotment in the House legislation.”

But rather than fight those battles publicly, Cruz seems to be opting for a private, behind-closed-doors approach to improving the bill. In recent days he has met personally with party leaders in Congress, and with both Vice President Pence and President Trump, declaring each to be “very productive” conversations.

His efforts have surprised some in Washington who have long considered Cruz to be more of a showman than a legislative workhorse. But that characterization of Cruz always misunderstood the power dynamic in D.C....
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Cruz has studied the Senate Rules and sees a way around the filibuster by having the Vice President override the parliamentarian on reconciliation.  Republicans should embrace his approach and use it to make the legislation more appealing to Tea Party voters.

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