Victory for Conservatives? "Controversial" Amendment Makes It Into Senate Health Bill

An amendment that centrist Republican did not want to see in the Senate’s health bill appears to have made it in in some form, according to The Hill.

The Cruz-Lee amendment, which would allow insurance agencies to sell insurance plans that do not meet the specifications of the Affordable Care Act, was considered a non-started by many of the more liberal Republicans in the Senate.


But in a nod to centrists worried that the GOP bill could cause too many people to lose coverage, it would add extra funding to try to compensate for higher costs for sick people, sources say.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) almost certainly needs Cruz and Lee to back the GOP bill for it to pass the Senate.

He is likely to lose votes from Republican Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Susan Collins (Maine), which would mean he could not afford another defection and still have Vice President Pence break a 50-50 tie.

A number of centrist GOP votes are also in doubt, however, and accommodating their concerns while winning over Lee and Cruz is a tricky maneuver.

The Cruz-Lee amendment is a common sense amendment that would ensure men don’t have to pay for mamograms and pap smears, while women don’t have to pay for prostate exams. Obamacare enforced this measure essentially as a means of keeping costs down. If more people were putting more money into the system, then insurance companies would charge less for coverage.

However, it also meant people would be spending more money on coverage they didn’t need. So, there were still higher costs put on people who were insured.

The problem for the liberal Republicans is that they want to continue to keep costs down by having people pay for that extra coverage still. So, in order to keep the low income sick insured, they want more money going into the system to keep costs down. But, that comes at the expense of people who can afford insurance who are forced to pay for coverage they don’t need.


The compromise appears to be that the Senate’s health bill will allocate more money elsewhere to help lower income folks continue to afford their insurance.

However, we don’t know if the Cruz-Lee amendment in the bill is actually the Cruz-Lee amendment. According to Mike Lee’s Twitter feed, it may not be what we think it is.

The bill is due out soon, and we’ll see what’s in it. Hopefully the full amendment as the two conservative senators envisioned it will be there, because it is the most sensible amendment to give what was otherwise a bad bill.


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