Cruz replied "let's talk about Obamacare", to which Austin retiree Gary Marsh replied, "Can I please request that you refer to it as the Affordable Care Act?"
The proposal would allow insurance companies the freedom to sell any kinds of health plans they want as long as they also sell at least one plan that qualifies under the regulatory requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Republicans who grabbed every lever of political power in November are struggling to replace Obamacare with something better, however. Under Cruz and Lee, premium payments from these younger, healthier policy holders - who usually need less medical care - will help offset the cost of covering frillier ACA plans. "The idea that this is sprouting at the last minute is inaccurate".
The House would have to vote on the Senate version and the Cruz proposal might make House approval more likely, Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group in the House.
Cruz was barely able to deliver his speech over the constant sound of the protesters who interrupted him and waved signs reading "Ted wants us dead", and "Cruzin for a Bruzin 2018".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows he does not yet have enough support to pass the health care plan, so the vote has been delayed until after the July recess. "If you look at what is happening with ObamaCare now people are hurting under it".
"Or CBO will come back and say the market will be destroyed and 45 million people will be left without insurance", said one staffer. Inside, the discussion was much cooler, but tensions mounted when the topic turned to health care.
Cruz's amendment, which is an attempt to bring together Republicans and Democrats on the flailing legislation, would enable insurers to sell plans that do not comply with Obamacare insurance regulations - on the condition that they also sell plans that fulfill those rules.
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"I think there's very little interest in the caucus in touching pre-existing conditions, so I have a hard time seeing the addition of the 'Consumer Choice Amendment, '" said one GOP Senate aide, referencing the formal name of Cruz's amendment.
Another attendee accused Cruz of stalling during a long story about his healthcare debate with Sen. While a contingent of moderate Republicans in the Senate hinted at opposing the Senate plan, Cruz and other conservatives announced they couldn't support the bill.
Sen. Cruz argues that his amendment would allow for more flexibility when it comes to choosing healthcare plans and that patients with pre-existing conditions can continue to purchase insurance plans with the help of the BCRA's tax credits and stabilization funds.
"You would likely see some market segmentation", Cruz told Vox last week.
Other conservative groups like the amendment.
Nevertheless, conservatives want to roll back Obamacare's insurance regulations, and the Cruz plan is their preferred way to do it at this stage of the negotiations.