Five years after the Affordable Care Act became law, one of its biggest opponents says he may be signing up.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the first major candidate to enter the 2016 presidential race, is now shopping around for health coverage after his wife, Heidi, took a leave of absence from her job at Goldman Sachs to campaign with her husband. The unpaid leave does not include benefits.
"We will in all likelihood get health care through my employment, which means you end up going on to the exchange and getting health insurance," Cruz said during an appearance on the Mike Gallagher radio show Wednesday. Members of Congress without insurance are required to sign up through health care exchanges created by Obamacare because of an amendment to the law added by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
However, Cruz said he would not accept a subsidy members of Congress are eligible for to help pay for coverage. "I'm going to purchase health insurance with my own funds for my family, like millions of Americans," he said.
The first-term senator became the face of GOP opposition to Obamacare in 2013 when he spoke for more than 21 hours on the Senate floor in opposition to the law. He urged his GOP colleagues not accept a government funding bill that kept Obamacare intact, setting in motion a 16-day partial government shutdown.
In his presidential announcement on Monday, Cruz said he would dismantle the law if elected, something he maintains even as he prepares to enroll in the program.
"It is my intention to campaign every day on repealing Obamacare, and in 2017 if we win this race, I hope and expect to sign legislation repealing every word of Obamacare," he said Wednesday.
Cruz is preparing to enroll as the president celebrates the fifth anniversary of Obamacare.
"We've made our share of mistakes since we passed this law. But we also know beyond a shred of a doubt that the policy has worked," Obama said at an event marking the occasion on Wednesday. "Coverage is up. Cost growth is at a historic low. Deficits have been slashed. Lives have been saved. So if anybody wants to join us in the spirit of the people who have put aside differences to come here today and help make the law work even better, come on board."