- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2017

Sen. Ted Cruz said Friday that the Senate is close to passing a health care reform bill, but there is still a handful of holdouts.

“We’ve probably got I think 45 or 46 ‘yes,’ now. It’s a handful of ‘no’s‘ right now,” Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican, said on Fox News. “I think they’re going to get to yes. I don’t know how you face people who elected you when you won’t even vote to take up the bill.”

Mr. Cruz said the key to moving forward is to first focus on lowering premiums.

“Focus on lowering premiums — the biggest reason people are unhappy with Obamacare is because of premiums,” he said.

Mr. Cruz said he understands voters’ frustration with Republicans and that he’s trying to encourage his colleagues to at least follow through on the repeal promise they made to constituents.

“We said give us the House. They did. We said give us the Senate, and the voters did. We said give us the White House. I mean we’ve got to deliver now. We’ve got to get to yes. I think we’re close,” he said. “We should be frustrated because we have politicians that are campaign promising one thing, and then they do something different in office.”

He added that President Trump has been very helpful in the ongoing discussions, calling the talks “productive” and “very helpful.”

Mr. Cruz offered an amendment that would separate the insurance pools and lift the Obamacare mandates to allow cheaper plans on the marketplace. Critics say this would create a huge increase in premiums for sick patients since they wouldn’t have healthy people to balance out the insurance cost.

Republicans are scrambling on the decision to have a clean repeal vote or continue to pursue a replacement plan.

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