Ted Cruz got one of Republicans' toughest healthcare questions Saturday night. And he mostly ducked it.
At an ABC presidential primary debate in New Hampshire , the Texas senator outlined three health reforms he would replace Obamacare with if elected president: allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines, expanding the use of tax-free health savings accounts and separating coverage from employment.
But Cruz had been asked a more specific question: How he would explain to people losing the coverage they gained under Obamacare that his approach is still a good deal for them.
"Any … change in healthcare policy carries with it the risk that some people will lose their insurance coverage or have to change it. How do you reassure those people that repealing and replacing Obamacare is still in their best interest?" asked HotAir.com editor Mary Katherine Ham.
The problem Cruz and other Republicans run into is that most conservative ideas for reforming healthcare rely on shifts in policy or law that could indirectly result in more Americans getting coverage, but wouldn't guarantee the uninsured immediate access to it. In contrast, Democrats tend to espouse reform ideas that would immediately guarantee coverage, especially to the low-income.
Cruz did release a measure last year he has termed the Health Care Choices Act, but beyond repealing the Affordable Care Act and allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, it does little to reform the healthcare system. And while the Congressional Budget Office hasn't scored the legislation, it likely would leave more people uninsured than under current law, at least initially.
That's one reason many Republicans, including Cruz, stick mainly to criticizing the Affordable Care Act instead of articulating exactly how they would replace it.
"What should we do on health care?" Cruz said Saturday night. "If I'm elected president, we will repeal every word of Obamacare."
Of the remaining Republican candidates, only Jeb Bush and Ben Carson have released more detailed health reform proposals, Carson's plan proposing a new kind of health savings account.
"You have to replace [Obamacare] with something that makes sense," Carson said.