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Cruz warns against ObamaCare 'bailout'

Cruz warns against ObamaCare 'bailout'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Democrats hold fading odds of winning Senate this November Donald Trump Jr. emerges as GOP fundraising force 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. 

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The warning against an insurer "bailout" comes as Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers 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.”