Why the Cruz Amendment does not make the health bill better

A Primer on the Cruz Amendment

Ted Cruz has proposed a new amendment to help the Senate health care bill win favor among conservative voters. This amendment would allow for insurance companies to sell bare bones health insurance plans without the essential benefits that are currently required under federal law.

This amendment has been submitted to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is expected to report on possible costs or implications in the coming days. While waiting for the CBO statement, analysts speculate that while this amendment will likely lower the price of the premiums for the bare bones plans, it will increase the price for those who opt for essential benefits. Based on economic market force theory alone, we can venture a good guess as to what will happen without knowing anything at all about health care systems.

Consequences of the amendment

In order to offer the lowest possible premiums, insurance pools need to attract as many healthy people as possible. If you have a condition, such as being pregnant or expect to become pregnant, or develop a rare illness or don’t respond to traditional medicines when you are ill (and especially if you are advancing in age), you are more likely to purchase the insurance that includes the essential benefits. If you are not prone to illness, you are more likely to purchase the cheap plan. This leaves the sickest people in the essential benefits pool, substantially increasing the cost of care for that group. In essence, this opens up the possibility of pointedly increased premiums for a large chunk of Americans, including the fastest growing demographic in the every state: people over age 60.


  • Call your senators and let them know that this is not the direction you would like health care to take.
  • Sign this petition asking our Senators to cross the aisle and find a bi-partisan solution to fix health care. (Find more great petitions like this on our Petitions, Petitions! page.)

Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)

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