Sen. Ted Cruz's demands complicate GOP health-care negotiations

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is again locking horns with his Senate GOP colleagues, this time over new changes to the stalled Obamacare-repeal bill.
By Leon Clarke | Jul 08, 2017
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is again locking horns with his Senate GOP colleagues, this time over new changes to the stalled Obamacare-repeal bill. And aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) complain that the Texas Tea Party firebrand risks not only overly antagonizing the rest of the caucus, but also jeopardizing further the bill's chances of getting a majority vote.
Cruz has insisted that the bill scrap all of Obamacare's regulations, including the ban on insurance companies denying care due to pre-existing conditions. Most other Senate Republicans want to keep the pre-existing conditions protections in place.
Then more recently, Cruz said that he could support the Republican bill if the bill underwent another amendment: to allow insurance companies to sell any kinds of health plans that they likeincluding plans that deny pre-existing conditionsas long as at least one plan meets all of the existing regulatory requirements of the Affordable Care Act, such as coverage for maternity care and mental-health services. Most of the Senate GOP flatly rejects this proposal.
"I would say that if we voted on the Cruz proposal, it would be in the neighborhood of 37 to 15 against, 37 no votes and 15 yeses, and that's probably generous," a GOP aide who is familiar with the Senate negotiations told the Hill.
GOP Senate leaders went ahead and sent the CBO two versions of their revised bill on Monday, one with the Cruz amendment and one without. But GOP aides warn that the pre-existing conditions issue could end up sinking Cruz's support for the Senate bill. Since the bill cannot afford more than three GOP defections, this puts the bill's prospects in a tenuous position.

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