Just one day after Ted Cruz launched his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination with another attack on President Obama’s signature health care law, the Texas senator made a second, more surprising announcement: He’s signing up for Obamacare.
“We will presumably go on the exchange and sign up for health care and we’re in the process of transitioning over to do that,” Cruz told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday.
Cruz confirmed to the paper that his wife, Heidi, would be taking an unpaid leave of absence from her lucrative job at Goldman Sachs to join her husband on the campaign trail, and that his family would subsequently lose their Goldman-provided health care coverage.
Now the senator will be required to turn to the health care exchange to obtain insurance, thanks to a provision added to the Affordable Care Act by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley that requires members of Congress to purchase plans through the federal marketplace.
Cruz struck an egalitarian tone when asked how it feels to be relying on the program, which he has spent years railing against. “Well it is written in the law that members will be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans so that’s – I think the same rules should apply to all of us,” Cruz told the Register. ”Members of Congress should not be exempt.”
The number of uninsured Americans has dropped dramatically in the five years since the president signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. According to new figures released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of uninsured U.S. residents has fallen by 11.4 million to the lowest level in more than 15 years.
The Texas senator remains as committed as ever to repealing “every word” of Obamacare, however. “There are a fair number of Republicans in Washington and elsewhere who have quietly and privately given up on that fight and I have not,” Cruz said.
Maybe he’ll come around.