Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has made opposition to Obamacare the key to his term in the Senate, told the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce that Congress is a lot closer to 'repealing and replacing' Obamacare than a lot of people realize, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Cruz said the key to repealing Obamacare is to install a program that cuts premiums for American families and for employers. He says that is everybody's goal, and pointed out that premiums for the average family have skyrocketed $5,000 just in the past several years under Obamacare.
Cruz says a measure now being discussed among Senate Republicans would do two things.
First, it would allow insurance premiums to be paid by pre-tax dollars, something that is now illegal.
"That is an immediate reduction in your effective premium rates of 20 to 30 percent, depending on your tax rate," he said.
And the second is to lower premium costs, and he says the way to do that is the same way to lower costs for any product or service, to increase options for consumers and to decrease regulation.
Cruz says his bill would eliminate the confusing mandates which now cover Obamacare policies, requiring, for example, that people buy coverage for drug detox, pregnancy and pediatric care, even if the person has no need for those coverages.
"If an insurance company sells plans in a state that meet all the mandates, they could also sell any other plans that consumers desire," he said.
He says that would not eliminate options, as opponents have claimed, it would increase options.
Cruz says he knows the business owners and executives who make up the Chamber of Commerce are interested in comprehensive tax reform and tax cuts, and he said the two issues are connected.
"If we deliver on Obamcare repeal, I think the chances of tax reform skyrocket," he said. "If Obamacare crashes and burns, I think the chances of tax reform drop significantly."