WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered a floor speech to discuss the merits of the Consumer Freedom Amendment in the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. According to a report conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Consumer Freedom Amendment expands coverage by more than two million individuals and reduces health insurance premiums by more than $7,000 per year. Another provision offered by Sen. Cruz, allows for the use of pre-tax dollars in health savings accounts to pay for health insurance premiums, which will result in significant savings for consumers.
Following is an excerpt of Sen. Cruz’s remarks pointing out the harms that Americans have suffered under and promoting the relief that his Consumer Freedom Amendment would bring if enacted:
“Well, today we had a vote to take the first step in doing something, in honoring the promise that every Republican made to repeal this disaster. Now, the bill before the Senate is not perfect. No one would expect it to be perfect. Bismarck’s comments about sausage making are certainly true in this process here today. But I will say the bill before the Senate that is not likely to pass tonight but I believe at the end of the process, the contours within it are likely to be what we enact, at least the general outlines. There are at least four positive elements that are significant.
“Number one, it repeals the individual mandate. You know, the IRS fines about 6.5 million people a year because they don’t have enough money to buy insurance. Now, think about that, Mr. President. You are struggling to make ends meet, you don’t have the money to buy health insurance, and the IRS, not only do you not have insurance, but slaps you with a fine, millions of dollars of fine. The state of Texas, there are roughly a million people getting fined by the IRS, roughly half of whom make $25,000 a year or less nearly 80% of whom make $50,000 a year or less. The Democratic solution is if you don’t have the money for health care, the IRS is going to fine you. On top of it, you still don’t get health care. That is a terrible outcome. This bill will repeal the individual mandate, repeal the IRS fines on 6.5 million Americans, and the job-killing fines of the individual mandate.
“It also repeals the employer mandate, the driver of the ‘49ers’ and ‘29ers.’ For seven years, the Democrats had no answer to the single mom forced to work part time. Repealing the employer mandate provides relief to everyone who finds themselves in those camps.
“Number three, this bill has a major reform allowing people to use health savings accounts, pre-tax money, to pay for insurance premiums. That means for millions of Americans their effective premium rate instantly drops 20% to 30% by using pre-tax money. That is a major reform for empowering you, the consumer, to choose the health care for your family.
“And then, number four, the bill before the Senate includes the Consumer Freedom Amendment, an amendment I’ve introduced, like the health savings account amendment, an amendment that says you the consumer should have the freedom to choose the health care that’s best for your family. You should have the freedom — you shouldn’t have to buy what the federal government mandates you must buy. You should choose what meets the needs for you and your family.
“The amendment was designed to come together and serve as a compromise for those who support the mandates in Title I, the Consumer Freedom Amendment says that insurance companies, if they offer plans that meet those Title I mandates, all the protections for preexisting conditions, they can also sell any other plan that consumers desire, so it takes away nothing. If you like your Obamacare plans, those are still there. It just add new options and lets you decide, do you want the Obamacare option or do you want something else. You can actually purchase something you and your family can afford.”