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Ted Cruz And Health Reform – OpEd

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Senator Ted Cruz has won the Iowa Republican caucuses. Over the weekend, Chris Wallace of Fox News challenged Sen. Cruz on his proposal “to sell health insurance across state lines,” citing my argument that federal action to mandate this would be ineffective. The argument in question appeared in an op-ed in The Hill last October, although I have made it previously elsewhere.

In fact, Sen. Cruz’s proposal to sell health insurance across state lines does not appear in his presidential campaign platform. It is in a Senate bill he proposed last March, in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell. That case was decided last summer in favor of the Obama administration. If it had gone the other way, Obamacare would have collapsed in most of the states (which have federally facilitated health insurance exchanges, i.e. healthcare.gov).

Few politicians in Congress prepared for this possibility. Sen. Cruz and a handful of his colleagues did. However, the Supreme Court got the case wrong, so any pressure on the administration to change Obamacare through legislation evaporated.

So, Sen. Cruz’s bill to sell health insurance across state lines is best understood as a quick response to an opportunity that could have arisen. I cannot imagine this comprises his entire health reform proposal.

On the other hand, Sen. Cruz was on the right side of two recent issues, where most of his colleagues were wrong. Back in April, he was one of only eight senators to vote against the extremely flawed Medicare “doc fix” legislation. Last December, he was one of only 33 senators to vote against the also flawed “taxibus” legislation which deficit-funded Obamacare.

For those following the primary campaign: Sen. Marco Rubio also voted against the Medicare bill; while Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voted against the “taxibus,” for which Sen. Rubio did not vote. So, the Independent Institute’s policy positions are having a disproportionate influence on the presidential candidates!

This article was published by The Beacon.

John R. Graham

John R. Graham

John R. Graham is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. Formerly Vice President at the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), he previously directed health-policy research at the Pacific Research Institute and the Fraser Institute. In prior positions he served as Assistant Vice President at Kidder, Peabody Securities Company; Associate at Goldman Sachs and Company; Political and Military Analyst for the United Nations Operation in Somalia; Development Consultant for Covenant House Vancouver; and Captain in the Canadian Army. He received his Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in economics and commerce from the Royal Military College of Canada and his M.B.A. from the University of Cologne, Germany. He is also Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute as well as Adjunct Fellow for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

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