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ICYMI: Sen. Cruz on Texas Radio

Discusses his efforts on behalf of veterans, health care reform and NDAA with Texas radio hosts Mark Davis and Chris Salcedo

DALLAS, Texas – This morning, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined local Texas radio hosts to discuss his work on behalf of veterans, including the VA Information Technology Restructuring Act he introduced last week to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) IT infrastructure, among other topics, including his efforts on health care reform to advance commonsense measures that lower health insurance premiums and provide more consumer choice and freedom.

Sen. Cruz highlighted his leadership on behalf of our nation’s veterans, including his cosponsorship of the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act.

“One of the things that I have been pressing hard for is giving the VA Secretary the authority to be able to ensure that we don't have the misconduct that we’ve seen the last several years,” Sen. Cruz said to 660 AM The Answer’s Mark Davis. “I was one of the sponsors of the VA Management Accountability Act, which makes it easier for senior executives at the VA to be terminated for negligence, for mismanagement, or failing to do their jobs.”

On health care reform, Sen. Cruz emphasized the need to lower health insurance premiums and expand consumer choice and freedom.

“We’ve got to lower premiums and the way you lower premiums is you give the consumers freedom to choose the health insurance plan that they want without the government mandates,” Sen. Cruz said to WBAP’s Chris Salcedo. “You free up and create more choices, more competition, which results in lower premiums and making health insurance more affordable.”

“The biggest reason so many people are unhappy with Obamacare, the biggest reason people are hurting, is because Obamacare has caused premiums to skyrocket,” Sen. Cruz told Davis. “Every day, I hear from Texans from across the state who say ‘I can’t afford health insurance for my family. My premiums have risen out of control.’ If we lower premiums, we will have succeeded; if we don’t lower premiums, we will have failed. A key piece I think to getting this passed is an amendment I’ve introduced that I hope will be in the final bill that is called the Consumer Freedom Option. The Consumer Freedom Option simply says that if an insurance company sells in a given state a plan that is consistent with the Title I mandates, that company can also sell any other insurance plan consumers desire ... And so I introduced this as a way to get it done, and hopefully pass it. Because what this will allow is okay fine you want to keep your mandates? Knock yourself out with your mandates, but in addition to mandates let’s let Texans buy the plans they want, let’s let Texans buy the benefits they want and let's let them get lower prices so that more families who are struggling can actually afford health insurance.”

Sen. Cruz continued, “One major improvement that I was able to get into the bill is improving health savings accounts, and in particular including a provision that a health savings accounts can pay for insurance premiums. Right now you can’t use health savings accounts to pay for premiums. Why does that matter? Because those dollars are pre-tax, which means effectively, your premiums are dropping potentially 20 to 30 percent depending on your tax rate, instantaneously. My focus is we’ve got to lower premiums, because that is the biggest problem with Obamacare. It was caused by the federal government. It’s the biggest reason people are hurting and we’ve got to fix that."

Sen. Cruz highlighted his efforts as part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included 13 amendments critical to Texas and U.S. national security.

“I was able to get a total of 13 different amendments that I introduced included in the bill,” Sen. Cruz said to Davis. “Many of them focused on key reforms here in Texas, including strengthening the National Guard, ensuring that our military bases that are training pilots are not facing threats from wind farms that are incurring on them, improving housing for enlisted personnel, taking care of modernizations at Amarillo's staging facility, improving water management, protecting religious liberty, and providing training for senior leaders.”

On North Korean threats, Sen. Cruz urged the United States take a posture of strength and deterrence.

“About a year or two ago Kim Jong Un was making threats and he named three U.S cities that he would like to target with a nuclear weapon. And one of them was Austin, Texas,” Sen. Cruz said on the Mark Davis Show. “And so that threat is very serious and is getting worse. I think it highlights the need both for a strong foreign policy where we stand up to our enemies and have serious deterrence. But also, a military that's fully capable of dealing with the serious and growing threats of the world.”

Audio from the radio interviews may be found below: