Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, got into a somewhat tense exchange with CNN host Chris Cuomo on Wednesday morning after Mr. Cuomo accused Mr. Cruz of supporting a repeal of President Obama’s health care overhaul without offering specific alternatives to help fix the country’s health care problem.
“In my view, coming together to stop Obamacare is the essence of pragmatism because it is self-evident this isn’t working — nobody’s defending it, and the reasonable, common sense thing to do is simply to start over,” Mr. Cruz said on CNN’s “New Day.” “This is killing jobs, and over 5 million people losing their health insurance, premiums skyrocketing across the country — this isn’t working. Let’s start over.”
Mr. Cuomo pointed out that aside from backing a repeal of the law, Mr. Cruz hasn’t sponsored any bills since being elected last year that deal with fixing health care.
Mr. Cruz said current tweaks being offered to let people keep their insurance plans for at least one year were “Band-Aid fixes.”
“You don’t think that you have a responsibility as a U.S. senator to do better than that, in terms of offering a solution for what to do next?” Mr. Cuomo asked.
“Well, I appreciate your trying to lecture me in the morning,” Mr. Cruz said.
“No, no, no, not at all, senator,” Mr. Cuomo said. “I’m worried, same as you, anybody who looks at the situation has worries.”
“If you’re worried, did you speak out for the 5 million people who have lost their health insurance?” Mr. Cruz asked.
“Absolutely — we’ve been covering it doggedly,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We’ve been covering it doggedly, and you know that — I’m sure you watch the show. The problem is, I don’t have the power to fix it. You do. That’s what a U.S. senator does, is you sponsor law. You know this. It’s not a lecture, it’s a concern; I’m asking, what are you going to do about it?”
Mr. Cruz says he shares the concern and has been working every day to highlight people who have lost their jobs or who have been forced into part-time work as a result of the law.
In addition to repealing the law, Mr. Cruz said, the best thing to do is expand competition.
“Let people purchase health insurance across state lines,” he said. “If you want to expand access, what you want to do is increase choices and drive down cost. What Obamacare does is increase choices and drives up cost. It doesn’t make sense, and it isn’t working. I’d like to see something that empowers consumers, not Washington bureaucrats.”