U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz held the floor of the Senate on Sept. 24 for 21 hours and 19 minutes in support of defunding the Affordable Care Act. During the fourth-longest Senate speech in history, Cruz discussed pressing topics such as health care, Nazis, Star Wars, Dr. Seuss and the soundtrack to Freddy vs. Jason. Clearly, Cruz’s main interest lies in bolstering his own reputation rather than adding anything of substance to the health care debate.
“I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am not longer able to stand," Cruz said.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted to repeal Obamacare 42 times since it became a law. A Democrat-majority Senate stops any repeal of Obamacare. So what is the Affordable Care Act, and why is it so controversial?
The Affordable Care Act is a complex law, intended to fix the problems in our healthcare system by funding health insurance, which is believed to be inflating costs. Everyone is required to buy insurance unless it would cost more than 9.5 percent of their income, and businesses with more than 50 full-time employees are required to give their employees health insurance.
To make it affordable, exchanges are set up on websites in every state to push transparent competition between insurers, and premiums are subsidized on a sliding scale for lower incomes. To pay for this, some reforms are made the way that Medicare payments are made.
Republicans do not necessarily oppose these ideas specifically; it is more of an opposition of political ideology. Republicans typically believe in smaller government in which individuals look out for themselves. It is for that reason that Republicans try to lower taxes, so that the individual can spend their own money the way they want.
Cruz then went on to help us understand his wisdom by making a connection to a similar time in history.
“If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany – we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe, but that's not our problem. Let’s appease them,’” Cruz said.
So in this case, Obamacare is the Nazis, Neville Chamberlain is the Democrats and I guess that would make Cruz Winston Churchill.
But what exactly is the point of this speech? Political commentators on both sides have typically agreed that it accomplished nothing. Sen. John McCain criticized the speech and specifically the Nazi comparison.
McCain said, “The allegation, in my view, does a great disservice to those brave Americans.”
McCain said he has come to the conclusion that “the people spoke” when they re-elected President Barack Obama and that fellow lawmakers shouldn’t “give up our efforts to repair Obamacare,” but he says it is not worth shutting down the government.
McCain is right. Obamacare is here to stay. Rather than waste time trying to get rid of it, we should work to improve the law.
Whether Cruz was trying to make a point or just get media attention, he was wasting time. Cruz said that it is a flawed system in which insurance companies handle pre-existing conditions.
“My view on pre-existing conditions is we ought to reform the market to deal with that problem,” Cruz said.
Newsflash: Bloviating comparisons to Nazis will not accomplish that. One can only hope that, in the future, the democratic process will weed out these unfortunate wastes of time.