Room ‘goes silent’ as Ted Cruz faces man whose family was helped by Obamacare

One of Ted Cruz’s biggest platforms in his presidential campaign is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Although he’s questioned about his repeal plan constantly, Cruz is rarely asked about what would replace “Obamacare” and is rarely confronted by someone who Obamacare directly helped.

In a moving account from the New York Times, Cruz was hosting an event in Hubbard, Iowa when Mike Valde  raised his hand to ask a question. Valde told Cruz about his brother-in-law, Mark, a barber who owned his own shop and worked without vacation time and health insurance.

When the Affordable Care Act came into effect, Mark was finally able to get health insurance. Shortly after being insured, Mark went to the doctor and was diagnosed with untreatable tumors behind his heart, liver, and pancreas. According to the Times, the room, including Cruz, fell silent.

“Mark never had health care until Obamacare,” Mike Valde continued. “What are you going to replace it with?”

Mr. Cruz said “millions of Americans” had lost their jobs and their doctors as a result of the law, and that many had “seen their premiums skyrocket.”

He said he had often joked about a pledge by Mr. Obama that premiums would drop: “Anyone whose premiums have dropped $2,500, as President Obama promised, should vote for Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Cruz said. “I’ll take everybody else.”

Many in the room laughed.

Valde pressed him for an answer.

Cruz described elements of his proposal, including ways for insurance to be purchased across state lines, adding that his deregulation plan would make insurance for people like Valde more affordable.

From the Times’ account:

Mr. Cruz turned back to Mr. Valde. “Your father-in-law, he couldn’t afford it,” he said.

“Brother-in-law,” Mr. Valde said.

“Your brother-in-law couldn’t afford it,” Mr. Cruz said.

“Right,” Mr. Valde said. “But he could afford it — he finally got it under Obama.”

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