Without a trace of irony, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz waited roughly 24 hours before announcing that he and his family would be participating in the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare.
Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, had been providing health coverage for the family when she worked for Goldman Sachs in Houston. Now that she is leaving to help him on the hustings, Cruz took the responsibility of providing the family’s health care coverage.
Cruz and his wife joined 16.4 million other Americans by enrolling in Obamacare, although he opted for the gold-plated congressional version. That would be the very same health care plan that Cruz so reviled, the one patterned after the Massachusetts program instituted by then-Gov. Mitt Romney.
When Cruz said on CNN that he was enrolling in Obamacare, he couldn’t bring himself to utter the actual word “Obamacare” in reference to his decision. He called it the “federal exchange.” Mostly because it would have made such a deliciously negative political commercial.
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At Cruz’s urging in 2013, fellow conservatives in Congress shut down the federal government over their disdain for the Affordable Care Act. In that shutdown, Cruz engaged in a 21-hour filibuster that included a reading of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Cruz makes his opposition to Obamacare a central tenet of his 2016 presidential campaign. In his mandatory-attendance announcement at the late Rev. Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University, Cruz promised to “repeal every word of Obamacare.”
Every word except for the ones that apply to and benefit Ted Cruz.
No matter, right?
Cruz’s personal financial disclosure filed with the U.S. Senate shows that he had assets valued at as much as $4.6 million as of 2013, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
He’s certainly not the richest U.S. senator. But he disclosed making $1.57 million in 2011 at his old law firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
As a millionaire, Cruz could have afforded a private health care plan. That would have boldly demonstrated that he’s a man of his word. He certainly could have covered any associated COBRA costs, which would have made his fiery stand perfectly palatable.
Cruz would have had to forgo a perquisite of office to do this, but he could have made a politically principled choice. He didn’t.
Cruz’s pedigree includes Princeton, Harvard Law and a clerkship for U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist. That would seem to set him up for a more traditional path to the presidency. But he rails against the establishment system that produced him. Oh, well. It’s just one of Cruz’s puzzling inconsistencies.
The Obamacare episode isn’t the first of many tacks and trims the Texas senator has engaged in during his career as an elected official. Whether it will be his most egregious remains to be determined. The primary season is young.
Cruz is a little like the character from his favorite bedtime book, who told Sam-I-Am that he did not like green eggs and ham, not with a mouse, not in a house, not in a box, not with a fox, not anywhere. And then he tried green eggs and ham.