This is the most astonishing Obamacare-related news story -- or anything-related news story I've seen in a long, long time. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), perhaps the central opponent of the Affordable Care Act is enrolling in an Obamacare health insurance plan. No, this isn't a story from The Onion. He's really doing it.
Evidently his wife is taking a leave of absence from her job at Goldman-Sachs in order to help with Cruz's campaign. Consequently, the couple will lose their insurance coverage through her job. And today, during a sit-down with CNN's Dana Bash he admitted that he's buying insurance through the federal exchange -- specifically the previously glitchy Healthcare.gov website.
This exchange is unbelievable:
CRUZ: So she's taking an unpaid leave of absence from her job and so we're transitioning -- we'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job in the Senate. So we'll be on the federal exchange like millions of others, uh, on the federal exchange.
BASH: So you will be getting Obamacare, effectively.
CRUZ: It is one of the good things about Obamacare is that the statute provided that members of Congress would be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans, so there wouldn't be a double standard.
So much for that whole thing about Congress being exempt from Obamacare. Clearly, and as we've covered before, Cruz and others cleverly distorted the premium-sharing arrangement and made it sound like an across-the-board exemption from the law. The exact opposite, as Cruz said here, is the truth. Indeed the federal government will continue to cover 72 percent of the monthly insurance premiums for members of Congress on Obamacare plans, just like it did with the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program before it -- and just like most companies do for their employees.
BASH: But senator, for right now, the irony is just kind of unbelievable that you have made your name fighting against Obamacare, and you now are going to sign up to get your insurance through that very process of Obamacare.
CRUZ: Listen, it was the case before Obamacare, that federal employees could get health insurance through their jobs. That's not a new development. So yes, I'll get my insurance through my job like, like millions of other Americans. That's not a shocking--
Not shocking? Is out of his gourd? The guy who filibustered all night against Obamacare, and who helped to shut down the government over it is actually signing up for Obamacare. And get this:
BASH: Will you take a subsidy from your job, which is the federal government?
CRUZ: We will follow the text of the law. I strongly oppose the exemption that President Obama illegally put in place for members of Congress because Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats didn't want to be under the same rules as the American people.
See what he's doing here? He's refusing to admit to receiving the "illegal" premium-sharing benefit established by the Office of Personnel Management while still robotically perpetuating the exemption myth even though two seconds earlier, he discussed the fact that he's not exempt at all.
BASH: That means you are going to take a government subsidy?
CRUZ: I believe we should follow the text of the law.
BASH: The law that you want to repeal.
CRUZ: Yes, no, I believe we should follow the text of every law, even laws I disagree with.
Here's where it all falls apart. If he was so intensely opposed to Obamacare and the "exemption/premium-sharing" then he and his wife have several alternative options:
1) Sign up via Healthcare.gov as individuals rather than federal employees and forego the premium-sharing.
2) Or he and his wife could do the same thing as other members of Congress and buy insurance directly from private insurers, bypassing the exchanges. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), among others, is doing just that. Here's a list of providers in Texas.
3) His wife could sign up for COBRA benefits and keep the couple's existing health insurance.
4) Or he could do what Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) did -- return the premium-sharing to the federal government.
Why isn't he pursuing these other routes? Because he wants the "illegal" premium-sharing offered by evil law-breaking Obama -- he wants the so-called "exemption." Frankly, it's the smart choice and the better deal, even though it's easily the most ironical, hypocritical choice he could make. Likewise, it's a smart choice for those millions of Americans he was talking about -- the millions of Americans whose smart insurance plans will be repealed by a would-be President Cruz.
And now... I think I've seen it all.