Cruz pushes Consumer Freedom amendment

A version of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s amendment to give insurers more flexibility to offer insurance plans that don’t comply with Obamacare-era regulations is expected to be included in the new Republican health care bill.

WASHINGTON DC (CNN) – Senate Republicans unveiled their newest health care bill today as they continue to search for the majority needed to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The revision includes a version of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s amendment, which would allow insurers offering Obamacare plans to also offer cheaper, bare-bones policies.

Cruz’s so-called Consumer Freedom amendment is considered contentious among Republican senators with some moderates having raised concerns that it could hurt those with pre-existing conditions. The amendment would allow insurers to sell cheaper plans with fewer benefits that would likely attract younger and healthier Americans. But that would cause premiums to spike for those who are sick and need more comprehensive policies.

The amendment has been key to getting Cruz to vote for the GOP plan to overhaul Obamacare. Cruz said Wednesday that his vote to advance the bill next week would depend on whether he was convinced premiums would lower with the GOP health care bill.
Sen. Mike Lee — a Utah Republican and close Cruz ally — tweeted Thursday morning to say that he has not seen the newest version of the Cruz amendment included in leadership’s health care bill and was unsure if he could support it.

There’s also no guarantee the Cruz amendment — in whatever form — will even get a Senate vote. It could be stripped from bill at any time as GOP leaders negotiate and work their way through Senate rules.

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