ted-cruz

Late Monday night, a series of tweets on health care reform were sent out by Ted Cruz, detailing exactly what he felt was necessary in passing the Graham-Cassidy bill, or any other health care reform bill that comes before the Senate.

The tweets suggest Cruz is open to last-minute changes that will win conservative support from him and others like him – those who are skeptical of an Obamacare repeal and replace plan that doesn’t actually do the “repeal and replace” part.

Sounds solid, and for the most part, Cruz is correct in that the focus should not be on anything other than lowering costs and increasing competition. These are conservative ideas that date back to the original Affordable Care Act debate and beyond.

See, a lot of folks heard Cruz’s comments this weekend and assumed right off the bat that he is a “No” vote on Graham-Cassidy because he hinted that he doesn’t support it (and suggested that Mike Lee does not, either). However, unlike Rand Paul, John McCain, and Susan Collins, he is not unequivocally saying he will never ever support it. He wants to see solid conservative reforms put in to play.

And on this, Cruz gets it right. We can be more conservative with this bill, and we can get things put in with the time remaining that will do greater good. But, what we have to be careful about (and, I’m not saying Cruz is not being careful about it) is this idea that we can directly affect the cost of premiums.

Controlling costs is what got us into the mess we’re in in the first place. The biggest flaw of any social program is the inherent belief that government really can control something and control it well. Graham-Cassidy cannot, and should not, be used as a tool to manipulate the markets and artificially lower costs.

However, what Graham-Cassidy could do is lay out the conditions that would lower costs.

This includes some of the reforms that Cruz hinted at, and these are things we should be going for. I just don’t know if we have the time to make it happen in the remaining days. If not, it will be near-impossible to pass reform before the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

And, Americans will lose.