Ted Cruz attends veteran health care town hall in Austin

Ted Cruz (KXAN file photo)
Ted Cruz (KXAN file photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Senator Ted Cruz talked to veterans in Austin Thursday evening as part of his statewide tour to discuss his version of the proposed Senate health care plan. The Concerned Veterans for America invited Cruz to conduct town hall style meetings that can focus on veteran issues.

Sen. Cruz has offered an amendment to the Better Care Reconciliation Act that aims to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Cruz, however, wants to keep the provision that would allow those who purchase insurance on the open market to be given access to the plan of their choice.

“It’s kind of like when President Obama said if you like your health care plan you can keep it,” said Chip Roy with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “That’s what we’re actually trying to do here. Sen. Cruz is trying to give you access to the health care plan of your choice.”

Policy experts are predicting this amendment could have a hard time attracting moderates to the plan because it could create a new kind of problem that involves higher rates for people who can’t get the subsidies. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked the nonpartisan Congressional budget office to see how Cruz’s plan would impact the federal budget and insurance coverage.

On Wednesday, Cruz was met by 60 protesters outside his town hall event in McKinney near Dallas.

“This is clearly an effort to answer some of the criticisms that are coming from Cruz’s wing of the party – from conservatives who say the current plan doesn’t go far enough in dismantling some of the things conservatives don’t like about the Affordable Care Act,” said Texas Politics Project Director James Henson.

Demonstrators are planning sit-in protests Thursday at the offices of Republican senators in 21 states — including one in Austin. They’re demanding they vote no to the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Local activists are upset that Texas Senator John Cornyn is in support of the bill. They plan to bring personal letters to his office to express why they need the current health care law.

The discussion began at 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Austin Hotel at 9721 Arboretum Blvd.

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