Cruz eyes insurance via Obamacare, a law he vows to scrap

2015-03-25 17:02
Ted Cruz (AP)

Ted Cruz (AP)

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Washington - Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz could soon be buying his family's health care coverage through the signature Obama administration law he has vowed to dismantle.

Cruz, a Texas senator who championed a partial government shutdown in 2013 in a failed bid to derail the law, is looking for health insurance because his wife, Heidi Cruz, took an unpaid leave from her job in the Houston office of Goldman Sachs as Cruz announced his presidential bid.

That meant the family would soon lose access to health insurance through Mrs Cruz's job, triggering a need for the Cruz family to find a new policy.

Cruz, one of the staunchest conservatives in Congress, became the first person to formally enter the 2016 presidential race on Monday. He is not considered a front-runner in what is expected to be a crowded field of Republicans seeking the party's nomination.

Cruz said he is looking at options available on a health insurance exchange, or a clearinghouse of policies available to Americans who don't receive coverage through their employers. President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act created the exchange system.

Under an amendment to the law crafted by Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff health care insurance that's sold through an exchange.

"We will presumably go on the exchange and sign up for health care, and we're in the process of transitioning over to do that," Cruz said in an interview with The Des Moines Register.

Cruz could go without insurance, or his family could get its coverage directly from an insurance company at what would likely be a far higher rate than is available via an exchange. Doing so would mean Cruz would not get the contribution from his employer to help offset the full cost of his coverage.

Since Obama signed the health care law five years ago, the number of uninsured US residents fell by more than 11 million to about 37 million, the lowest level measured in more than 15 years.

The health care law offers subsidised private coverage to people who don't have access to it on the job. Republicans oppose the law as an example of government overreach, especially a requirement that most Americans carry insurance or face fines.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  obamacare
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