The Ted Cruz Amendment is an Amendment to the BCRA which lets insurers sell low-benefit, low-cost, high-deductible plans with annual limits.
UPDATE 2019: This plan never passed, and thus the specifics here are of historical interest only.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act Reconciliation Act has went through a number of changes in the Senate. The July 13th version was quickly followed up with “the Ted Cruz Amendment.”
“The Ted Cruz Amendment” allows insurers to sell inexpensive plans to consumers that include basic coverage up to an annual cap (so limited benefit plans with annual limits would be able to be sold again under the latest version of the BCRA).
This amendment is likely to bring down average premiums considerably, and it could even lead to more insured than the BCRA without the bill. As a trade-off, it accomplishes this by allowing insurers to sell low-benefit, low-cost, high-deductible plans with annual limits.
In other words, under the BCRA older and sicker Americans would pay more, but premiums would go down on the whole due to deregulation.
Tom Price’s HHS and Cruz paint the picture as “the CBO being wrong” and premiums going down by an average of $7,000 (high estimate). However, this is not a very centered way to describe the facts.
The fact is that the Cruz Amendment is likely to bring down the average cost of premiums, but this is because it offers plans with much lower benefits and annual limits. Those who want major medical plans that cover a full range of benefits are likely to see their costs increase on average (especially since seniors can be charged a ratio of 5:1 under the BCRA.) When you add in the reduction to assistance, and consider the tens of millions who lose their plans (22 million by CBO estimate, less by HHS), simply pointing to the average price of a healthy 40 year old who doesn’t use assistance doesn’t exactly tell us the full story.
- READ the BCRA as it stood July, 13th 2017 (the latest version): the full text of the Revised Senate Health Care Bill 7/13/17. See also “the Ted Cruz Amendment” (this is now part of the BCRA).
- CBO Report of the Latest Version: H.R. 1628, Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017.