Sen. John Cornyn praises re­place­ment plan; Sen. Ted Cruz says it needs a lot of work,

Mean­while, Doggett says GOP re­write of ACA needs vet­ting.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Jonathan Tilove jtilove@states­man.com Con­tact Jonathan Tilove at 512-445-3572.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Wed­nes­day praised the House Repub- li­can health care plan as “the most sig­nif­i­cant en­ti­tle­ment re­form in decades.”

But U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the Amer­i­can Health Care Act is very much a work in need of a lot of progress.

“As drafted, I do n ot be­lieve this bill would pass the United States Se­nate,” Cruz said in a con­fer­ence call with Texas re­porters, not­ing that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was “ex­actly right” when he tweeted Tues­day that the leg­is­la­tion to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare is open to ne­go­ti­a­tion.

Cruz was to have an op­por­tu­nity to tell Trump his thoughts on how the bill can be im­proved at a pri­vate din­ner Wed­nes­day evening at the White House at which Cruz, his wife, Heidi, and their two daugh­ters, Car- oline and Cather­ine, were ex­pected to dine with the pres­i­dent and first lady.

The din­ner, Cruz said, came at the pres­i­dent’s invi- tation. It demon­strates just how far their re­la­tion­ship

has come since their bit­ter pri­mary ri­valry.

Cruz, now a Trump ally, said, “I am work­ing hard to bring peo­ple be­hind re­peal-and-re­place leg­is­la­tion that hon­ors our com­mit­ments and solves the prob­lem.”

“That is not an easy task, but in my view, we can­not fail,” Cruz said. “For six years, Repub­li­cans have cam­paigned, promis­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple, if you elect us, we will re­peal this dis­as­ter that is Oba­macare that has hurt so many mil­lions of Tex­ans, that’s cost so many peo­ple their jobs, forced them into part-time work and seen their health in­surance pre­mi­ums sky­rocket, and seen deduct- ibles sky­rocket, and seen peo­ple able to ac­cess fewer and fewer doc­tors and have less and less con­trol over their health care.”

On the Se­nate floor, Cornyn, the No. 2 Repub­li­can in the Se­nate, ap­plauded the act for, “putting Med­i­caid on a more sus­tain­able path: not con­tin­u­ing to spend money that we don’t have and rack up an­nual deficits, and add to our na­tional debt.”

On the other side of Capi- tol Hill, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said at a meet- ing of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee that the GOP plan de­mands “ex­treme vet­ting.”

“Frankly, any vet­ting at all would be an im­prove­ment, be­cause it has not been vet­ted in any pub­lic fo­rum,” Doggett said. “When you buy some­thing new — whether it’s a new pair of pants, a new car, a new ap­pli­ance — it usu­ally helps to ask two ques­tions: What does it cost? What size is it?

“On this new in­surance plan, we are be­ing asked to vote with­out know­ing how much it costs and with­out know­ing what size it is — how many it cov­ers and how many mil­lions of Amer­i­cans are once again be­ing left out,” Doggett said. “If you have noth­ing to hide, a week will not im­pair your ef­fort.”

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