An amendment to the Senate version of the healthcare reform bill offered by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas would allow insurance companies to offer free market style health care policies so long as they provide at least one Obamacare compliant one. The amendment was designed to bring Senate Republican moderates and conservatives together to get over the 50 vote threshold needed to pass the reform bill. So far, the Republicans have not been able to get enough votes to pass the bill. However, Cruz and the cause of repealing and replacing Obamacare got a boost thanks to an analysis of the amendment by the Department of Health and Human Services.

What the Department of HHS said

The Health and Human Services analysis stated that premiums would go down and enrollment would go up if the Cruz amendment passes.

For Obamacare compliant policies, the average premium would be $320 a month by 2024, down considerably from the $845 a month that it is currently. For those on the free market plan, the savings are even greater, with the average of $240 a month. The only drawback would be that the deductible for the free market health care plans would be on the average $12,000.

Moreover, enrollment in the individual market would rise under the Cruz amendment. Currently, 13.9 million Americans are expected to be in the individual market under the current system. However, with a law with the Cruz amendment included, that number rises 16.1 million. The figures do not take into account enrollment in Medicaid.

What happens now?

Cruz presented these findings at a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus at the White House in which President Donald Trump took the senators to the woodshed for failing to pass Health Care Reform.

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He reminded the senators that they had promised to end the scourge of Obamacare but are so far failing to do so.

Currently, the plan is to hold a vote for a straight repeal of the Obamacare law with a provision that it doesn’t go into effect for two years. The theory is that the Congress would have ample time to cobble together a replacement bill that will be satisfactory to enough lawmakers to pass. However, three Republican female moderates have vowed not to vote for straight repeal either. The impasse has GOP voters at their wit’s end. What use is it to vote for Republicans if enough of them refuse to do as they promise?

In the meantime, Democrats are waiting on the sidelines, throwing the occasional potshot, and biding their time. They believe that Republicans must eventually come crawling to them for a “bi-partisan compromise.”