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Politics

Ted Cruz Proposes Amendment With Aim To Salvage Senate Health Care Plan

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Ayan Mittra
Sen. Ted Cruz reiterates his desire to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in February, saying Americans were suffering from high insurance premiums

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing hard to keep the Senate health care bill's prospects alive, amid a rollercoaster week at the U.S. Capitol. 

On Tuesday, Senate Republican leaders postponed taking up a major overhaul of the health care system as several Republicans and all of the chamber's Democrats maintained opposition. 

Cruz, a Texas Republican, is now proposing an amendment that would allow any health plan to offer "non-Obamacare compliant" plans in a state if it was already offering at least one plan that does comply with the 2010 health care law in that state, according to a Vox.com report

That measure, combined with reducing the bill's tax cuts, could possibly be enough to win over a conservative bloc of senators who are withholding support for the bill, while also freeing up funds to boost Medicaid funding, which might bring along some moderate Republicans opposed to the bill, per Vox. 

A Cruz spokeswoman confirmed the details of the report to the Tribune. 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is aiming to pull together new legislation by Friday, in hopes that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office can analyze it over the July 4th recess. He had hoped to vote on a bill this week but abruptly pushed those plans back on Tuesday. 

He and other leaders have suggested that despite this week's setbacks, the Senate will pick the issue back up in mid-July.

Cruz has repeatedly postured himself as a consensus builder in the health care negotiations – but he did withhold support from the initial bill proposed last week. 

GOP senators are increasingly feeling pressed for time to address promises to overhaul the country's health care system. Soon, Congress will need to agree to raise the U.S. government's debt ceiling, or face a possible default. Both chambers traditionally leave town for a five-week recess in August and into the early fall. The month of September is often consumed with budget negotiations. 

And soon, the 2018 midterm elections will come to the fore, which is expected to make it even tougher for Republicans to move forward on politically volatile issues like health care.

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The Texas Tribune

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