October 10th, 2013
07:24 PM ET
7 years ago

Ted Cruz says he’s for health care reform, just not Obamacare

Updated 10/10/2013 at 9:08pm

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz really does want healthcare reform, just not Obamacare, the Texas Republican said Thursday night.

The conservative firebrand and self-made arch-foe of the Affordable Care Act was on CNN’s “Crossfire” to defend the tactics he proposed that helped drive the United States to a government shutdown.

And those tactics seem to be working by Cruz’s standards.

Cruz: Use debt ceiling debate for leverage

“An awful lot of Washington would like to change the subject,” on fighting Obamacare, Cruz said. “Who hasn't stopped focusing on Obamacare is the American people.”

Cruz argued that he has gotten the grassroots outrage against the health care law he has always sought.

“Millions of Americans rose up and said this thing isn't working,” the freshman senator said. “That's what we need to stay focused on.”

It was Cruz who helped propose a government funding bill that attached language defunding President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.

The defunding language was a rider that Democrats have long said was unacceptable and ultimately pushed the government into shutdown when a deal over spending could not be reached.

Back and forth between Democrats and Republicans over how to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling continue, with House Republicans passing multiple piecemeal funding bills that include Veteran’s Affairs and national parks.

Senate Democrats have refused to take up those bills, arguing that the entire government should be funded and calling anything else hostage negotiations made under duress.

Any Cruz is good news for Democrats

Cruz’s “Crossfire” opponent Thursday, Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, continued that charge repeatedly.

Funding only parts of the government, Whitehouse argued, is akin to a hostage taker who will “let the occasional hostage out while holding all the other hostages.”

Cruz, a nationally ranked debate champion, stuck to his talking points.

“Why is it a hostage negotiation on a straight-up funding on the VA?” Cruz asked. “Why can't we all come together and say our vets should all be above politics?”

Republicans have held up the funding of everything else, Whitehouse countered.

Cruz has drawn considerable fire for his anti-Obamacare tactics even within his own party, with fellow Republicans like Rep. Peter King of New York calling Cruz “a fraud” for promising that he could defund Obamacare when all along he could not.

When asked if he owed the GOP an apology for its dropping approval ratings, Cruz instead turned the question into an indictment of Democrats who “do not want to discuss Obamacare.”

On the other hand, “House Republicans are listening to the millions of Americans” Cruz says are suffering under Obamacare, losing their jobs, work hours and insurance.

Whitehouse did not say that Obamacare was untouchable; arguing only that any reform should come through the normal legislative process instead of by tying it to larger issues of government funding and the debt ceiling.

That said, Whitehouse still largely defended the law, citing constituents and the costs of Medicaid and Medicare that he says are going down.

“You've got to believe that Obamacare has something to do with those huge savings,” Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse argued that Republicans decided early on that Obamacare was going to be a failure.

It was “a political choice to pull all support from anything this president wanted to do,” Whitehouse said.

When accused of countering any positive health care reform, Cruz argued that “I am a big supporter of healthcare reform,” a cause he says he has long championed.

Filed under: Health care • Ted Cruz
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. tired of this

    So, what does he propose instead? Crickets?

    October 10, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. S. B. Stein

    What did Cruz want to do for health care insurance reform? I don't know what he wants and don't think that he wants to make sure that people have better access to health insurance.

    October 10, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. amazing

    Notice how Cruz can't provide any specifics as to how he would reform health care. That is the problem with these extremists (and I am not tainting all Republicans with this nut case). Their strategy is no but they provide nada, zero, zip in terms of alternatives. I bet you the millions of Americans he referenced are signing up for Affordable Healthcare!

    October 10, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Jim in PA

    Of course Ted Cruz, like all Republicans favor health care reform. Why just look at the bill with specific reforms they want to pass. Which, um.... actually doesn't exist. And never has. Ever.

    October 10, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    I don't believe him. If Cruz were for health reform, but not Obamacare, he'd be working to get a different health reform act passed-instead he's spending his time to get Obamacare defeated & leave us with no health reform at all. Actions speak (rather shout) much louder than words.

    October 10, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  6. rtkmd

    "this thing isn't working"...I wonder why Cruz repeatedly uses this phrase to describe the ACA. In what way is this act, which is mostly effective in 2014 not working? Or is that his point, it isn't working because it hasn't gone into effect yet? Tricky guy!

    October 10, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  7. realist512

    Cruz was just making up crap as he went. These guys will say anything. Facts be damned. For instance, he said something like "ACA is an utter failure and that millions of Americans were suffering." It has been operational for a week! Give me a break!

    First time I had really seen him try to argue his case. He twists everything. Facts and truth do mean something.

    October 10, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. bobby wong

    I don't understand Cruz's logic and the Republican's logic. There isn't any law that has universal support. Gun control (not gun right) has a large degree of popular support and out-numbers those who don't want it. Why isn't the Republican party doing anything? These politicians are setting up bad examples for the future generation of politicians.

    October 10, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    show the whole video please

    October 10, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. Mike Amich

    “Millions of Americans rose up and said this thing isn't working,” the freshman senator said.

    Well no kidding! When it was voted on, it was understood that it will not take effect until 2014. Wait until then and if it doesn't work, get the people to vote again. Don't get people to vote on something and when you don't like it, take that vote away. I may not like all of Obamacare, but it was voted in and I have to respect that. What is tiring is to watch our congress try to strip away the voters right when they don't like something.

    October 10, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  11. KBNJ

    Van Jones is a self-avowed Communist (Google it if you don't believe me). This is who CNN puts up against Cruz?!? WOW. If this is how one of this nation's most watched 'news' organizations is now conducting themselves we're in deeper doo doo that Dick Cheney EVER could put us in.

    October 10, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  12. CP

    Cruz dodged every question posed to him on Crossfire. What a joke. Can't believe Van didn't hold his feet to the fire!

    October 10, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. davecu

    Taxation without representation.

    October 10, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. foreverflag

    Van Jones owes the American people an apology, we are not commies.

    October 10, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    If it is true that employees are being pushed into part-time employment, than who is making up the lost hours? Is it possible that more people are being employed to make up the difference? Is the Affordable Care Act an employment generator? Just a thought.

    October 10, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    US intelligence has received information on an Al-Qaeda plot to assassinate Senator Ted Cruz, but the plot was apparently called off because senior Al-Qaeda leadership realized they would be doing the American public a favor!

    October 10, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  17. The Contentious Otter

    The Republican script on healthcare:

    "We need healthcare reform that works"

    How do you propose to deal with pre-existing conditions?

    "We need healthcare reform that works"

    How do you think we should deal with high costs for emergency room care?

    "We need healthcare reform that works"

    What do you think should be done about the coverage gap for Medicare patients?

    "We need healthcare reform that works"

    They aren't even political leaders at this point, they're just parrots.

    October 10, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  18. Catmandew

    Keep fighting Ted because it is a big lie Obamacare! It will never be free medical insurance and it doesn't cover near the stuff regular insurance does. Obama is a farce and flips and flops constantly he has no backbone either. He is a poor excuse for a leader otherwise we wouldn't be here in the first pace. And that's by his own admission!

    October 10, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Tony

    Can you imagine having President Ted Cruz, Vice President Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich as speaker of the house. The poor, disabled and the elderly would be out of luck. We are fortunate to have more poor voters than there are rich ones. Plus we have all the young voters that need financial help. But somewhere along the line we will get this type of leadership and Lord have mercy on us all.

    October 10, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  20. jtool

    "Millions of Americans rose up and said this thing isn't working" – wow, and it just started last Tuesday. And the actual healthcare doesn't start until next January 1. So the millions of Americans who said "this thing isn't working" have no idea what they're talking about. These are probably the same people who said Obama was failing as a president – before he was even inaugurated in January 2009. Also known as "Fox News Watchers".

    October 10, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. markh

    How about an apology to the furloughed Americans? His antics and those of the GOP have damaged hundred of thousands lives and will soon hurt a lot more if this continues. This is destroying lives. Some may never recover. How about apologizing to them and help for them to get back on their feet. Not everyone has the luxury of being wealth and unaffected by this shutdown and being out of work.

    October 10, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. nintex

    What a fraud this man is. He won't last much longer.

    October 10, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  23. Smarkles2

    Theyre always against it, healthcare reform, but never any ideas........at least the democrats are trying...even though they have to fight big pharma, big health insurance companies. What dont you people see that we need help,out here. Your willing to support two unfunded wars but you wont let americans have afforable health care insurnace...no,wonder the repub numbers are dropping...youn arent for us......we are americans......

    October 10, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  24. bryan

    hope mr cruz gets the gop nomination in 2016. mrs clinton will cruz right pass him at 100 mph. lol

    October 10, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  25. simplyput

    Several hostages have been released from ACA mandates, and Unions will be next. It's hysterical that the tyrannical, loaded language *Teaparty is holding us hostage* is taken seriously and a political party is accused of being terrorists. The ACA will work for some and not for others, and isn't that the problem? I got some actual answers from actual insurance companies today, since the friendly federal marketplace can't answer questions by phone, or allow sign on yet. The juvenile language being used by democrats is a total discredit to their party, as usual. Any nasty thing they say can be turned on its hypocritical head because it has no substance, only emotion. Who has the bigger gun? The IRS or the credit card company? Answer that question and you'll find the true terrorists.

    October 10, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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