Home / General / “I probably like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz, and I hate Ted Cruz”

“I probably like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz, and I hate Ted Cruz”


The Cruz amendment has caused the one major medical-industry interest who could live with BCRA into staunch opponents:

Two organizations representing the U.S. health insurance industry just called a new provision of the Senate Republicans’ health care proposal “simply unworkable in any form” and warned that it would cause major hardship, especially for middle-class people with serious medical problems.

The organizations, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, speak for the businesses that would be responsible for making the new system work ― or at least attempting to do so.

That may help explain why, with a vote on the bill planned for next week, they are letting loose with what, by Washington lobbying standards, sounds like a primal scream.

In a publicly posted letter to Senate leaders, the two groups focused their attention on an amendment that would undermine the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The amendment, crafted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would allow insurers to resume sales of policies that leave out key benefits, such as prescription drugs or mental health. More important, it would allow insurers to discriminate among customers based on medical status, charging higher premiums or denying policies altogether to people with existing medical problems ― from the severe, like cancer, to the relatively mild, like allergies.

Krugman had a good column about the naked fraud behind TrumpCare, most notably promises to protect Medicaid turning into a bill that cuts it 35%. But in a way the fraud behind the Cruz Amendment is even more telling. Obviously, the Republican conference want to end the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But the public hates the idea, and there are a few “moderate”* Republican senators who need to convince themselves that they’re not ending these protections. So Ted Cruz came up with an idea: effectively end protections for pre-existing conditions, and indeed essentially ending any insurance being made available on the individual market that isn’t a massive fraud, but in an direct, chickenshit way. Worse, many consumers will buy into the fraud and probably won’t realize, for example, that buying junk insurance won’t count as maintaining continuous coverage. It’s just unbelievably disgusting. It may not work with the public, but the real target is “moderate”* Republicans, and what’s scary is that it might work.

While we’re here, shorter Erica Greider: “People say Ted Cruz is bad, but he created an amendment that means that the BCRA will destroy not just Medicaid but insurance exchanges too! And he makes this bill that will take insurance from more than 20 million people and make insurance for people who have it to pay for present and future upper-class tax cuts worse-to-useless more likely to pass. Where’s his parade?” I rate this take 100 Baylesses on a scale of 1 to 5.

*”Moderate” Republicans, an illustration:

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  • Denverite

    Apropos of this, this CNN op-ed makes me more angry than anything has in some time (and I saw a ten year-old get intentionally walked with no one on twice in the past week).


    I can’t decide which sentence is more offensive:

    Some families want and can afford blanket coverage that insures them for everything from cancer to contraceptives to drug addiction to dental care to the sniffles. If you want to pay for that coverage, go for it.


    The left prefers a system where people who want Cadillac coverage for contraceptives, dental care, substance abuse problems, etc., should be subsidized through higher premiums paid for by people who don’t want that coverage. How is that fair?

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Written by an economic advisor to Freedom Works. So it’s about as surprising as a fox writing an op-ed arguing that having anyone but foxes guarding henhouses is unjust.

      • Hogan

        If God didn’t want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.

    • Joe Paulson

      Cadillac and “dental care” are not two words that I would necessarily associate.

      • Lord Stoneheart

        Dental care is just making your teeth whiter! (Bacteria in my teeth get into bloodstream, then I die due to the infection)

      • Denverite

        The thing is, dental care *isn’t* an EHB under the ACA. It should be, but it isn’t.

        • Joe Paulson

          So much wrong, so much to say.

          (Another thing is eye care. Someone I know just got new glasses & told me she wasn’t covered by her employer’s plan. Basic thing sight.)

          • Deborah Bender

            Nor are hearing aids.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Mental health wouldn’t be covered without Federal intervention either. Free market health care FTW!

            • Hondo

              The republicans idea of mental health coverage is to provide free concealed carry permits, and a voucher for a gun purchase to anyone with a history of mental health problems. If you also have domestic violence on your record, you get a free upgrade to a voucher for an assault rifle as a bonus.

      • twbb
    • Robespierre

      Why won’t poor people just die if they can’t afford doctors?

      • C.L.

        If they’re going to die, they’d better do it and decrease the surplus population.

    • Eli Rabett

      As was said a while ago (not here) teeth or the lack thereof are a great indicator of wealth. This has been a great lack in Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA

      • Denverite

        Yeah, and it’s not just a cosmetic or even QOL issue. I developed a life threatening infection several years ago as a result of a fractured, infected tooth. The actor that played Lorne on Angel actually died of a similar condition.

        • Ithaqua

          So did one of my cousins.

        • Drew

          Similar thing happened to my wife. She had to have pretty urgent dental surgery a few months ago. She was and is fine, but THANK GOD we had pretty good Guardian dental from my job.

        • sarafina

          Lorne had long-term heart issues.

      • Joe Paulson
    • Hondo

      So when these assholes find they have cancer and it is uncovered by the shit policy they bought, let them fucking die.

    • ExpatJK

      I think this paragraph was by far the most ridiculous, as well as offensive on multiple levels (Cruz and savvy do not belong in the same sentence):

      Republicans are finally getting smart on Obamacare. It took one of the savviest Republican senators — Ted Cruz of Texas, with an assist from Mike Lee of Utah — to get the GOP ‎to figure out how to replace Obamacare, reduce premiums, and save money for the government. And all without alienating millions of voters.

      • sarafina

        I’m pretty alienated by Senator Anchor Baby.

  • MariedeGournay

    Ted Cruz is the devil’s toilet brush.

    • Denverite

      Bullshit. Toilet brushes are useful and help clean up shit.

    • When he dies, he should be buried in the FTFNYT printing press. Or cremated in a Port-a-Potty.

  • Joe Paulson

    Defending this stuff seems a bit like trying to say grandparents aren’t close members of the family.

    It’s a tad ridiculous. Doesn’t stop them. But, still. (reference to latest travel ban news)

    ETA: https://takecareblog.com/blog/the-government-and-grandparents-what-s-the-big-deal

    • Denverite

      The thing that’s crazy about that is that the ostensible purpose of the travel ban is to keep dangerous foreign nationals out, and, well, GRANDPARENTS.

  • RE: “moderate Republicans”

    I don’t see any way Portman doesn’t vote for this. He’s nothing if not a loyal McConnell foot soldier. We absolutely flooded his offices with demands that he not confirm DeVoss, and he got so much feedback that he felt the need to write us an open letter saying “listen, heard all of you, but I need you to understand that I’m voting to confirm, because fuck you.”

    • Steve LaBonne

      His buddy Kasich just renewed his strong denunciation, so I’m hoping against hope that has some influence. Anyway, many of us will keep calling his offices.

      • Anna in PDX

        Thanks! As an Oregonian whose family all came from Ohio I appreciate your sacrifice! Whether he votes the right way or not, you have helped. (My sister in Cleveland makes many calls a day as well.)

  • Sly

    “The love child of Joe McCarthy and Dracula.”

  • howard

    There are still only 2 no votes, so the smart bets that GOP moderates always cave and McConnell knows how to count remain solid.

    • Thom

      We don’t really know. Once people declare a side, they lose leverage.

      • howard

        there is nothing i’d rather be wronger about.

      • DAS

        I wish my union would understand this. They endorse (Democratic) candidates way too early in the (primary) election cycle.

    • twbb

      I still don’t think that always-bet-on-caving is solid. There’s too many other Republicans who will lose out big in 2018/2020/2022.

      • stepped pyramids

        Heller voting for this should be suicidal. He was very visibly against the previous version, and this gives him basically nothing. At least Murkowski gets a payoff (although she explicitly claimed that she wouldn’t accept an Alaska-specific carveout, of course… we’ll see…).

        • sarafina

          When is Murkowski up for re-election? I think she could be vulnerable, although I don’t live in Alaska, I just read about it.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Arguments based on assumptions about what people’s priorities should be rather than evidence about what they are will never be very convincing.

        • twbb

          And….they caved again.

          Could someone offer an example where a GOP Senator voted against their career interests out of zealotry or some sort of loyalty to the majority leader?

    • Mike_Masinter

      Lisa Murkowski has a billion dollar carve out for Alaska, so don’t count on her blocking passage. The bill could be law in ten days.

  • C.L.

    I don’t know. If there’s one thing that could bring the Senate together, it’s their truly bipartisan hatred of Ted Cruz. Maybe they’ll tank this just to tell him to go fuck himself.

    • petesh

      I hope Ted is lobbying very hard for his own amendment, like calling people in the middle of night and again at breakfast.

      • Really, though, he should do it in person. Ted Cruz is much more persuasive if you look directly at him. Just stop by senators houses like a Jehovah’s Witness to sell them on his amendment. That’s a surefire plan.

    • Karen

      There’s an evil part of my mind that thinks that McConnell accepted the Cruz amendment because he knows the bill is going to die, and he wants Cruz to take the blame for it. Remember that among the people who did NOT endorse Cruz’s Presidential run was his own senior Senator Cornyn.

    • Drew

      The final remnant of true bipartisanship-hatred of Ted Cruz.

  • Terok Nor

    The one useful thing about having to think about Ted Cruz is to remind ourselves that this was the Republicans’ idea of an alternative to Trump.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      The one useful thing about having to think about Ted Cruz is to remind ourselves that this was the Republicans’ idea of an alternative to Trump.

      Sure it was; in the same sense that “flesh-eating bacteria” is an alternative to “bubonic plague”.

      Not to say you can’t have both, and here we are.

  • drdick52

    Further proof that there is nothing that Cruz cannot make worse and if he can, he will.

  • postmodulator

    OT: Holy shit, someone went back and noticed that Reince Priebus visited Trump Tower the day of the DTJ/Veselnitskaya meeting. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7209fafbab43be4762e43f5e778a5f12a21b91782763a849d461a095e341b526.png

    • This is, of course, further proof that it was all a Democratic set-up.

    • stepped pyramids

      That’s interesting, although there’s the obvious explanation that Kushner and Manafort were at Trump Tower and he was meeting with one/both of them separately.

      • postmodulator

        While that is true, generally the most innocuous explanation hasn’t turned out to be the truth for these people so far.

        • wjts

          More to the point, as Josh Marshall says, with these people the stupidest explanation is usually correct. And attending a meeting with unofficial representatives of a foreign government to discuss a ratfucking operation while serving as RNC chair strikes me as pretty fucking stupid.

  • dbk

    It is a bit mind-boggling how somebody as smart as Cruz keeps telling us he is managed to create (?) an amendment for the individual market that AHIP and BCBS both came out against within about five seconds. It’s quite … masterful, if you think about it: theoretically maintaining the ACA’s requirement that those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage, while at the same time making such coverage totally unaffordable through bifurcating the market. And all that freedom (!!) to buy catastrophic policies that don’t cover EHBs and aren’t worth the paper the contract is printed on.

    On a more somber note, I sent one of my senators a letter yesterday requesting that his healthcare experts/ HELP healthcare staff prepare a series of easy-to-comprehend fact sheets detailing the projected impacts on the state, and that they be circulated to all major media outlets in the state (Illinois in this case). The amount of dis/misinformation out there is pretty overwhelming.

  • Paul Thomas

    I may have said this elsewhere, but if so it’s worth repeating: there are morally monstrous bills, and there are bats**t insane bills, but this bill somehow manages to score top marks on both.

    That it could receive serious consideration for passage is the sole proof you need that our politics is irretrievably lost.

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