Trumpcare is dead, or in a coma, and Sen. Ted Cruz's amendment to the bill was one of the nails in its coffin (or the rubber mallet to its head if you prefer the coma analogy). But our Senator Jeff Flake, who usually plays a moderate in the media, decided to embrace Cruzcare in his attempt to court Arizona's right wing in the run-up to the primary. On a radio talk show
he joined Cruz to voice his support for the most hated man in the Senate, his new bff. I didn't have to search for the talk show segment. Flake is so proud of it, he put it at the top of his latest constituent email. It landed in my inbox hours before two more Republican senators stated they wouldn't vote for the most recent version of Trumpcare which included the Cruz amendment, ending its chance of passing in its current form.
Cruz calls his plan the "consumer freedom amendment." It means insurance companies can go back to providing the kind of subprime, low cost health care packages forbidden by Obamacare. So, for example, if Senator McCain had purchased one of the "consumer freedom" insurance options, he might only have coverage for high cost care, like his recent surgery. People are estimating that his total bill, if he had to pay it, comes to about $70,000. His "consumer freedom" insurance would say he's covered for hospitalization, but when he opens his bill, he may discover hospitalization coverage is for the room and board portion of his hospital stay but not the cost of the surgery and doctors' visits. And he might also find that his coverage will be canceled at the end of the year, which couldn't happen under Obamacare, leaving him without insurance and nowhere to go for affordable coverage. That's what Cruz and Flake call "freedom."
Flake's email also spotlighted a News 12 story
on his Cruzcare stand. I'll bet he loves the first sentence of the segment.
"Is Arizona Senator Jeff Flake backing the most conservative Obamacare repeal plan?"
"If you define the most conservative Obamacare repeal plan as the plan that restores Arizonans' freedom to purchase more affordable health insurance of their choosing – rather than the federal government mandating what exactly coverage they must purchase – and still guarantees federally-subsidized coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions – then yes, I support the most conservative Obamacare repeal plan."
He put "conservative" at the front and back of his statement to make sure no one missed the point.
Trump is reaching out to candidates to attack Flake's right flank, so Flake is running hard to the right, because he's running scared. In case he weathers the primary, I hope people are taking notes.