The Senate’s top Republican wants to maintain the federal subsidies that helped millions of Americans get coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and he says Medicaid funding is critical to keeping those protections.
Cruz’s proposal to keep the federal payments to insurance companies that provide health insurance to low-income Americans was met with opposition from Democratic lawmakers and a number of prominent Republicans who said it would put the GOP in a position where it would be forced to defend those benefits while it pushes for other priorities.
But the Texas Republican has made no secret of his desire to push for the subsidies to continue, and on Wednesday he reiterated his desire for them to continue.
Speaking to reporters at a briefing on Capitol Hill, Cruz said the federal government is not the only provider of health care.
He said he believes the federal subsidy is critical.
“It’s really the one of the main sources of the stability and the stability of the Affordable Cures program that allows millions of people who can’t afford insurance to have coverage and that’s why it’s critical,” Cruz said.
“So that’s where the health care subsidies are important.
But I think we have to continue the subsidy to keep that stability.”
While Cruz has been pushing to keep some of the subsidies, he’s not alone in pushing to maintain them.
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Cruz argued that the subsidies “will continue to provide coverage to millions of our country’s most vulnerable people” and said they were “essential to keeping our nation’s health care system safe, stable, and accountable.”
A senior GOP aide told The Hill that Cruz’s plan is not out of the ordinary.
“He’s not an ideologue,” the aide said.
“His thinking is that the federal assistance that the government provides is vital and that the money should be retained.
That’s what’s driving him.”
While many Republicans are willing to keep federal subsidies, the GOP has not had a lot of success with them in the past.
The Republican Party’s budget blueprint released in April said the subsidies should be preserved, but Cruz’s proposal would force the GOP to defend them.
Ryan and other Republicans have said the House could work on legislation that would keep the subsidies and make it possible to preserve them.
The plan was released a week after a bipartisan group of House Republicans voted to extend the health law’s subsidies.
The House voted in July to extend and expand the subsidies by an average of $10,200 a year for low- and moderate-income households.