According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has announced that he will support the Senate version of the bill meant for healthcare reform. The bill, revealed just this morning, includes a version of the amendment Cruz offered that allowed insurance companies to offer free market health insurance policies so long as they also provide one that is Obamacare compliant. The compromise measure is meant to bring the conservative and moderate wings of the Senate Republican caucus and, hopefully, get the at least 50 votes plus Vice President Mike Pence’s approval needed to pass the measure.

Cruz as the savior of reforming healthcare reform

Ted Cruz has come a long way from the uncompromising stalwart who stood in the well of the Senate and filibustered to defund Obamacare root and branch. His compromise is considered brilliant by political observers as that it satisfies conservatives by offering a free market alternative to Obamacare health insurance and at the same time provides for the protection of various high-risk populations such as people with preexisting conditions. The Senate bill has a number of other sweeteners including a $45 billion fund for battling the opioid addiction crisis. It is not pure repeal and replace Obamacare, but many regard it as a good first step. The bill will be brought to the Senate floor next week for a debate and vote.

Prospects for the bill

The Senate bill is not going to satisfy all conservatives. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky has already announced that he will vote against it. However, presumably, Cruz’s support is going to go a long way toward buttressing the rest of the conservative wing to support the bill.

The onus would, therefore, be on the moderate wing.

The Republicans can only tolerate the loss of one other vote. Else the bill will fail to pass. If the bill goes down, the Republican leadership will be forced to negotiate with Senate Democrats for an Obamacare bailout package that will likely not be as popular with the GOP base as even the compromise Republican bill will be.

The stakes cannot be higher. If the Senate Republicans fail to pass a bill, the party base will be understandably outraged with feelings of betrayal. The series of political tsunamis, starting with the Tea Party revolt of 2010, was predicated on the notion that a Republican president and a GOP Congress would repeal Obamacare. If nothing even approaching that goal actually happens, voters will be well within their rights to wonder what the point is of supporting Republican candidates if they just fail to live up to their campaign promises.