After months that the 2016 GOP field has been vague on plans to replace Obamacare, despite their relentless chorus that they will repeal it, the moderators at Thursday’s Fox News asked a candidate –namely the candidate who shut down the government over Obamacare — whether he would be willing to let Americans lose their coverage without it.
“Today there are millions of people who gained health insurance from Obamacare and they now rely on it,” Megyn Kelly said, in a question directed towards Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). “If you repeal Obamacare, as you say you will, will you be fine if millions of people don’t have health insurance? And what is your specific plan for covering the uninsured?”
Cruz didn’t let an opportunity to reiterate his vow to dismantle the Affordable Care Act pass him by: “If I’m elected president, we will repeal every word of Obamacare,” he said.
But then, in terms of a “specific plan,” he offered three broad ideas that have been churning in Republican circles for years, and which experts generally agree fall far short of the sort of market-redefining reforms that Obamacare introduced to shrink the ranks of the uninsured.
First, he proposed allowing people to buy insurance plans across state lines. Secondly, he promised expanded health savings accounts. Finally he said, “we should work to delink health insurance from employment.”
“So if you lose your job, your health insurance goes with you, and it is personal, portable,” Cruz said. “I think that’s a much more attractive vision for health care than the Washington driven top down Obamacare that is causing so many millions to hurt.”