Cruz was for a six-month transition from Obamacare before he was against it. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Ted Cruz has never shied from his displeasure for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The Texas Republican’s opposition may have been most famously embodied in his extremely long speech in 2013, which, along with his lobbying efforts to get Congress to defund the law, set the stage for the 16-day government shutdown.
But Cruz’s recent positions seem to conflict with a stance he took just a few months ago.
With the Supreme Court expected to offer a ruling in King v. Burwell that threatens subsidies for approximately 6.4 million people throughout the 34 states with federally run health care exchanges, Cruz, according to the Wall Street Journal and others, have been opposed to proposals giving a six-month or longer sunset period for those who would lose the subsidies.
But in February, Cruz introduced the ObamaCare Repeal bill, which would have provided a six-month transition period as well.
According to Cruz’s office, the two ideas — total repeal and elimination of the subsidies — are completely different. A total repeal would require a six-month period for the entire country to adjust, while an aide suggested subsidies wouldn’t need to be extended if states were allowed to opt out of Obamacare, which Cruz has also suggested.
While millions of people could lose their subsidies depending on how the Supreme Court decides, Cruz believes everyone’s health care situation will improve if the law goes away, according to a Cruz aide.
One of the sponsors of a subsidy-extension bill, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on Wednesday floated the idea to reporters of something like a two-year extension of the “somewhat status quo,” which would give the families of those affected by the law time to adjust and would also create a mandate election in 2016.
“Give the American people a chance to be involved in deciding what direction our health care system will take after the 2016 elections,” said Johnson, who faces perhaps the most difficult re-election of any Senate Republican.
“Now [that] they’ve actually seen the results of Obamacare, now’s the time to have that mandate election,” he said.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., has also suggested using the money left over from King v. Burwell fallout to fund a Republican replacement plan.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.
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