October 10th, 2013
07:24 PM ET
6 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. aCriticalEye

    We need to run him out of this country on a rail, both tarred and feathered.

    October 11, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  2. Wake up People!

    I believe you Mr. Canada. You guys have done so much to contribute to health reform these last few years. What was that? You nut cases haven't proposed anything??

    Liar. And now thanks to you and your ilk trying to make it a negative, President Obama has a signature health care law. Obamacare.
    Loser, where's your birth certificate? The long form. And your college transcripts. Where ya at Donald??

    October 11, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  3. MMoore

    There is no real defense for Mr. Cruz's tactics. The methodology is routed in outdated political training on leverage. We are in the 21st Century, and Mr. Cruz must be made to realize that he is a member of a team. The team is the United States of America, not Texas. Now that the Dems have the lead role, his role should conform, and wait for his chance to lead. The American people have spoken, the Supreme Court has ruled; The Afordable Healthcare Act is law. Lets unite and make it work. Soweher, Mr Cruz got the "American Way" confused.

    October 11, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  4. NeutralNC

    Ted Cruz is no longer a major player in the national landscape but he is too full of himself to know any better. "Greed has poisoned men souls "

    October 11, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  5. maximusvad

    I like Cruz...he is helping Natural Selection and it's chosen party...the GOP.

    October 11, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  6. James P. Barber

    Canadian Cruz. A walking example of a narcissistic sociopath.

    October 11, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  7. Marcia

    the Republicans are right -Cruz is a fraud-and his outrageous antics may takde the Republican party down with him

    October 11, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  8. trueblue

    The Face of a young Castro, getting back at America. Be careful who's invited to your party.

    October 11, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  9. Steve

    Of course he is. Does 25% approval rating mean anything?

    October 11, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  10. Mike Texoma

    Anybody seen Cruz' health care reform plan?

    October 11, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  11. Don

    It is time for Mr. Cruz to step back and read a bit from his critics. The only Mr. Cruz has done is to speak up for the Tea Party. He has managed to put the agenda of the Tea Party up front. Once that was done his rateings went to an all time low. He is barely registering on the G O P'S Scale of popularity. Talk about an uneducated politician. He is in LA,LA, LA,LA Land.

    October 11, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  12. TiWM

    Does Mr. Cruz listen to what he says?
    A prime example of education not equaling intelligence!

    October 11, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  13. Dan I.

    Listening to Ted Cruze reminds me of the Family Guy Episode about the FCC (PTV)

    "Gentlemen, we received 80 complaints about the David Hyde Pierce incident. As you know each complaint equals a billion people. So 80 billion people were offended!"

    October 11, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  14. mfh

    Putting Jones on anything validates that his old boss Obama is a communist. After all Jones is an admitted communist/elitist and believes in radical change via disobedience and violence. Look up Jones and his bottom up top down speeches.

    October 11, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. MightyMoo

    If Cruz was for healthcare reform he could have spent that time filibustering his own bill coming up with a better alternative to Obamacare that everyone liked.

    October 11, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  16. Tom Legare

    It's amazing that a jerk like this could be elected to anything. But In Texas I guess in Texas this is what passes for a leader, HUH?? I don't think so. He has about as much chance being elected president as I do!!

    October 11, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  17. LostinTX

    Cruz is the Miley Cyrus of politics.

    October 11, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  18. MaryM

    Ted Cruz is now the most hated republican, BY Republicans. hahahaha

    October 11, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  19. Bob

    Republicans have killed every attempt at health care reform for the last 40 years.

    Here's a list of health care reform proposals of their own that they've actually put forward:


    October 11, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  20. Data Driven

    LOL - Obamacare's popularity is already going up, according to a poll from NBC/Wall Streeet Journal: "the survey released Thursday found 38 percent of people believe ObamaCare is a good idea, a 7-point jump." Cruz's popularity is at 18%, nationally. Obama care is more than twice as popular as Cruz is!

    By the way, what "healthcare reform" does Cruz champion? What are his ideas? Hmmmm?

    October 11, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

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

    October 11, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    Not a single specific on what he would offer as an alternative, but plenty of exmples of a debate pivot. All Cruz is is a performer, not a person intent on providing solutions. Yes, he got millions whipped up into a frenzy, but its a frenzy against him that he should be concerned about. People now see a man who's expereince in the Senate is measured in months, who blocked previous attempts at compromise, and who loves sitting in his office staring at a painting of himself arguing a case in front of the SCOTUS: l,ong on ego, short on accomplishments where they actually matter. Being a cheerleader for a fringe view without an alternative solution is irrepsonsible.

    October 11, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    “Millions of Americans rose up and said this thing isn't working,” the freshman senator said.
    20-30 Congress Teatards FUNDED by millionaires rose up and said this thing isn't working...for us.

    The millionaires that planted you in the Senate said this thing isn't working...for us.

    October 11, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  24. Michael Q

    Mr. Cruz, if you are for healthcare for all Americans, would you please tell us how you plan to do this, and exactly what is your plan for the good of all Americans? Please be specific, tell us "exactly" what your plan is, and how is it different from the ACA, or the plan being used in the State of Massachusetts? Just asking!

    October 11, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  25. Anti Cruz

    Cruz and his comrade, the tea partiers, must go. There is no place for extremism in the USA. Look at what happened in the Middle East where extremists fought for centuries. The combination of extreme partisan politics and lack of gun control is a bad recipe. People like Bachman, Palin, Cruz, and paul would incite more hatre among their extremist followers, some of whom may do unthinkable damages to others.

    October 11, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
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