When the Affordable Care Act was first being implemented a couple of years ago, Republicans and allied groups went to extraordinary lengths to find "Obamacare victims": people or families who, at least on the surface, were worse off because of the reform law.
Ultimately, these efforts were counter-productive: the horror stories tended to fall apart under scrutiny
, which had the unintended effect of making the ACA look better, not worse.
Last week, however, Ted Cruz announced he'd found some brand new victims: he and his family. The Washington Post reported
Last year, Cruz admitted that he might have to sign up for Obamacare -- a law he wants to repeal -- after his wife took a leave of absence from her job while he runs for president.... Cruz told an audience Thursday the coverage didn't last long. "You know who one of those millions of Americans is who has lost their health care because of Obamacare? That would be me," Cruz said in Manchester, N.H. "I don't have health care right now." Cruz said he got a notice in the mail saying that his plan was canceled.
I suspect many of those in the audience found that rather surprising. After all, we're talking about a sitting U.S. senator with a family. The ACA is so awful that even he can be kicked out of the system and lose his coverage? What hope do the rest of us if even Cruz doesn't have insurance "because of Obamacare"?
It'd be quite a story, if it were true, which it isn't.
As it turns out, this new anti-ACA horror story was discredited about as quickly as the previous anti-ACA horror stories. The Cruz campaign conceded late Friday that the senator has health insurance, even though he said he doesn't, and he never actually lost his coverage, even though he said he had. The Wall Street Journal reported
Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said Friday that Mr. Cruz's insurance broker had told him that he lost his health coverage when his Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas preferred provider organization, or PPO, policy terminated on Dec. 31. But Mr. Cruz had in fact been automatically enrolled by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas in another, narrower-network "health maintenance organization" plan that kept him covered in January. As we reported earlier, when we explained the headache on Friday, that's what the insurer said it did for all customers in his situation -- even if Mr. Cruz didn't know it.
In fairness to the senator, there was a fairly significant change to his coverage, and Cruz had said as much on the campaign trail, he might have even had a legitimate point to make.
But the truth wouldn't have made Cruz look like much of a victim, so he had to take the facts to a new, made-up level -- which his campaign waited until late on a Friday to clarify.
As for the near future, Cruz's platform calls for the complete elimination of the Affordable Care Act, which really would take coverage from millions of Americans.