There has been a media sensation created by Senator Ted Cruz’s throwing his hat in the ring to run for President as the Republican candidate. Irrespective of how you feel about that decision, another interesting bit of news is Senator Cruz is signing up for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The reason this is such news is Senator Cruz has been an ardent naysayer of Obamacare and actually played a key role in shutting down government with an over twenty-one hour filibuster replete with “Green Eggs and Ham” readings.
As a Tea Party champion, it could be safe to say, he has been a leader of the effort to denounce, discredit and disinform about the veracity of Obamacare. As an aside, while Obamacare is complex and could be improved, it is working pretty well to expand coverage, dampen cost increases and assure coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. So, what does this all mean with Senator Cruz joining the ranks?
He and his supporters have dismissed the irony noting it is the law of the land and he needs healthcare coverage. I cannot disagree with those reasons. Yet, what is more than ironic and bothers more than just me are two key points. First, Senator Cruz has not been shy about his criticisms of Obamacare. He has made others aware of his great concerns using needed areas of improvement and areas where the facts get in the way of a good story (Obamacare is a government takeover of healthcare – no it is the opposite; Obamacare is socialism – no it is a blend of for-profit and social insurance, e.g.). As a result, voters have been influenced by this bashing of Obamacare and may have made decisions that were not in the best interest of their families. While they should have considered the law on the financial merits of what it means for their family, they dismissed it as an option.
I have written before that people should not take financial advice from elected officials. On issues like whether you should look into healthcare insurance, politicians are not qualified to give such advice. This is an individual cost/ risk analysis that should be influenced by people qualified to give such advice. We have far too many people who have died, foregone care, gone bankrupt, or needed fundraisers to help pay for medical bills. I have guided several people to navigators who received appropriate advice. A good friend was one of these people and when she ended up in the hospital yet again due to COPD complications, she was covered.
Second, Senator Cruz prides himself on sticking to his beliefs. He does not advocate or condone compromise. This stance has caused him to run afoul of Republican leadership as evidenced by the shutdown of the government and his position last fall that played into the hands of Senator Harry Reid and many judicial appointments not favored by the GOP were put up for vote and passed. Now, here is one key time to stick to beliefs, but his pocketbook made the decision for him. He voted to be covered by Obamacare. If I were one of those who did not sign up because of his stance or due to news coverage of his stance, I would be more than a little perturbed.
It goes without saying I am not a supporter of Senator Cruz. He is a grandstander of the worst kind and blocks progress that could be made by more reasonable elected officials. What frustrated me most is during his twenty-one hours of filibuster to shut down the government, while criticizing Obamacare, not once did the Senator from Texas mention his state had the most uninsured citizens in the country. Obamacare has helped people gain coverage, including many Texans. It is working pretty well. And, it will work for even one of its staunchest opponents. Welcome to Obamacare Senator Cruz. It is not perfect, but should serve you well.
PS – It should be noted, the Senator is walking back his statement saying he has not made a final decision.
Also, while Googling “Ted Cruz Obamacare,” I came across the Quick Poll the Senator did last year on the 4th anniversary. The comments he received were exceedingly positive toward the new law. One person commented I hope the Senator is reading these comments. Apparently, he did not.