There is arguably no other person in America who dislikes Obamacare more than Ted Cruz. He is the guy who quite literally shut down the government in order to make an inane point about it. But even for Cruz, his latest attempt to show America how much he doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act is pretty pathetic.
At a campaign rally, Cruz told the crowd that he and his family currently don’t have any health insurance because “blah blah Obamacare.”
“I’ll tell you, you know who one of those millions of Americans is who’s lost their health care because of Obamacare? That would be me,” Cruz told the audience at a campaign stop New Hampshire on Thursday evening. “I don’t have health care right now.”
Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. (I wouldn’t advise taking that literally, Ted. The hospital bills will be through the roof.) Cruz seems to have intentionally torpedoed his family’s chance to get insurance so that he could tell conservative voters that Obama cost him his healthcare.
You may recall that Fox News spent months trying to dig up people who lost their health insurance because of the ACA. Cruz cited “millions.” In all their searching they found only a few. Those, it turned out, were mostly wrong about losing their health insurance. One by one they discovered that they either hadn’t actually lost their insurance or their new plan was more affordable because of Obamacare. They were simply ignorant of what they were meant to do to get a new policy. Thanks, no doubt, to Fox News and its relentless misinformation.
As Think Progress explains, Cruz is in a similar situation. He didn’t “lose” his health coverage, he just didn’t sign up for a new policy in time:
Cruz’s family used to be covered through a PPO plan with BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. But for 2016, the insurer decided to eliminate PPO plans and move to offering only HMO plans on the individual marketplace (which is becoming a bigger trend in the insurance industry). The insurance company announced this decision last July.
The July announcement gave people enrolled in BlueCross BlueShield’s plans a full five months to select a new HMO plan if they wanted to maintain coverage into the new year. Ted Cruz’s family apparently just didn’t sign up in time.
Like the rest of America, Cruz was expected to pick his new plan before the new year. The marketplace actually extended their deadlines in order to make it easier for busy families to find time to sign up. Millions of Americans managed to do so. In fact, more Americans have health insurance today than at any other time in the country’s history. Just not Ted Cruz and his family.
After blaming Obama, Cruz hinted that his family aren’t happy with him. He told the crowd:
“By the way, when you let your health insurance policy lapse, your wife gets really ticked at you,” Cruz said. “It’s not a good — I’ve had, shall we say, some intense conversations with Heidi on that.”
Note that even Cruz seems aware that he simply dropped the ball. He also admitted that he’s currently signing up for insurance (which will begin in March.)
At most, this is a mere inconvenience. For many American families, a lapse in insurance can be a scary time. One slip on the ice or nasty illness and one’s savings can evaporate. That’s unlikely to happen with Cruz. His wife, a former Goldman-Sachs executive, and Cruz, a senator, probably have enough money in the bank that any hospital bill can be taken care of even without insurance.
While Cruz has consistently run on the idea that he will repeal Obamacare, Americans are growing to like it. Healthcare in the United States is still an absolute mess, and more reforms need to be done to fully address the problems, but more people on insurance means less bankruptcies, healthier workers, and longer lives. You can’t put a number on more time with a loved one who may have been saved with access to healthcare, but you can put a number on what these life-changing opportunities are doing to the economy. Obamacare was framed by Republicans as a “job killer” and a deficit bomb – it’s proven to be neither.
So stop complaining and sign up for health insurance, Ted. Then go apologize to your family for gambling with their health to take a dig at the president. That’s just bad form.
Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr