Cruz warns against ObamaCare 'bailout'

Cruz warns against ObamaCare 'bailout'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE (R-Texas) on Friday warned against a "bailout" of insurance companies, a warning shot as other Republicans work with Democrats on a bill to stabilize ObamaCare markets. 

“It would be a serious mistake to bail out insurance companies, rather than provide relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting under Obamacare," Cruz said in a statement. 

Cruz acknowledged that the Senate had failed again this week to pass a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but said that Republicans cannot give up and have to keep working. 

The warning against an insurer "bailout" comes as Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Wash.) are negotiating a bill aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare, which is expected to include funding for key payments to insurance companies known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). 

Alexander and Murray are getting close to a deal, but they face a tough task in selling any agreement to the many Republicans that are wary of stabilizing ObamaCare. 

Critics deride funding the CSR payments as a "bailout.” Defenders counter that the payments are simply reimbursing insurers for giving discounts to low-income enrollees that are mandated by law, and that the payments are key to avoiding premium increases and instability. 

Cruz called to "narrow our focus" on repealing ObamaCare around lower costs and "consumer freedom."

"The American people did not send us here to bail out insurance companies," he said. "They sent us here to repeal and replace Obamacare. Failure is not an option.”