WASHINGTON — Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said that former President Bill Clinton’s comment earlier this week that people should be able to keep their health insurance plans was an attempt to protect his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her future presidential aspirations from the disastrous Obamacare rollout.
“Congressional Democrats are desperately running for the hills,” Cruz told reporters Thursday. “It was striking, just a few days ago, President Bill Clinton deliberately throwing overboard President [Barack] Obama and Obamacare. And I think that suggests an effort to insulate Hillary Clinton from the manifest failure that is Obamacare.”
Cruz made his remarks in the style of a pre-prepared speech, complete with dramatic pauses, to reporters who cornered him by the elevator shortly after Obama announced an administrative fix to allow people to keep their insurance plans for at least one year. Congressmen have been clamoring for a fix as millions of American lose their health insurance plans and Obamacare’s alternatives prove to be much more expensive without providing adequate coverage.
The uproar has been particularly loud from Democrats, especially those facing re-election in the 2014 midterms. Several Senate Democrats have signed on to a bill proposed by Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, which would grandfather in plans that people had enrolled in on or before December 31, 2013, and allow people to stay on them indefinitely.* Another plan, sponsored by Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, would require insurers to maintain those cancelled plans, but only for two years. On the House side, a number of Democrats were threatening to defect and vote for a similar bill proposed by Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton if the administration did not come up with a fix.
Cruz himself has presidential ambitions, and if he to win the 2016 Republican nomination, he could likely face Clinton — the Democratic frontrunner — as an opponent.
*This piece previously misstated the time period for which Landrieu’s plan would allow people to keep their insurance.