On Meet The Press, Sen. Ted Cruz stated that his alternative to the ACA is that uninsured people should get a job, but 60% of the uninsured already have jobs.
DAVID GREGORY: You don’t think Americans will like it. You don’t think that 25% of the state of Texas that’s uninsured will actually like the expanded access to get health insurance?
SENATOR TED CRUZ: I don’t. And here’s why. Because it’s not working. What’s happening, if you want people to get health insurance, the best way for them to get health insurance is to get a job. And Obamacare’s the biggest job killer in this country. If you look at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce surveyed small businesses subject to the mandate. Half of them said that they were forcibly reducing people’s hours to 29 hours a week or less, or hiring part-time workers. Another 24% said they weren’t growing, to keep their size under 50 workers.
If you’re a young person coming out of school right now, unable to find a job, a big part of the reason you’re not able to find a job is because small businesses aren’t growing because of Obamacare. And there’s nothing that could give you better health insurance than having a vibrant economy where you can get a job.
Let’s take, for example, the 15,000 workers at UPS, who, just a few weeks ago, received notice from their employer that spousal coverage was being dropped, that their husbands and wives were losing the health insurance that they’re enjoying right now. Let’s take the workers at Sea World, who were told, “We’re forcibly reducing your hours to 28 hours a week because of Obamacare.” This is happening all over the country, David. People are hurting because of this law.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Ted Cruz is completely wrong about who the uninsured are, “Over six in ten of the uninsured have at least one full-time worker in their family, and 16% have a part-time worker in the family. Individuals below poverty are at the highest risk of being uninsured, and this group accounts for 38% of all the uninsured (the poverty level for a family of four was $23,050 in 2012). In total, nine in ten of the uninsured are in low- or moderate-income families, meaning they are below 400% of poverty. The problem for employees whose employers offer health insurance is that they can’t afford it, “Workers usually enroll in employer-sponsored health insurance if they are eligible.4 However, it has become increasingly difficult for many workers to afford coverage. In 2013, the average annual total cost of employer-sponsored family coverage was $16,351, and the share of the premium paid by workers was 29%. Between 2003 and 2013, premiums have increased by 80%.5.”
Cruz and his small band of Republican ACA defunders aren’t defending the poor and middle class. They are trying to keep them locked into a system that either denies them health insurance, or makes it unaffordable. Sen. Cruz sells himself as a small government conservative who is standing up for personal liberty, yet he believes he gets to decide what the American people will like.
People should have the freedom to make up their own minds. Instead of Republicans like Cruz trying to overturn a law before it is even implemented, the American people should be allowed to decide for themselves. The law should be implemented. If it works, people will like it. If it doesn’t, they won’t. Recent polling shows that people like the specific parts of Obamacare, which suggests that they will like the full law.
Cruz doesn’t want the uninsured to have a chance to access healthcare. The vast majority of the uninsured already have jobs. They have fallen through the cracks of an employment culture that has seen bigger employers pay lower wages and offer fewer benefits. Sen. Cruz doesn’t understand the lives of the people that he is representing. The uninsured aren’t lazy. They are working hard, and they can’t afford to get sick.
The ACA is going to help these people to access healthcare, and no amount of misinformation from Ted Cruz is going to change that.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association