Cruz says GOP critics of his health bill should not be "deceived" by Democrats' attacks

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says that as Congress heads back to work following the July 4 recess, Republican critics of his proposed fix to the Senate's health care bill should not be "deceived" by attacks launched by Democratic members. 

In response to criticism of his proposed amendment launched by Senator Chuck Grassley, Cruz said "it's important for Republicans not to be deceived by the attacks that are coming out of Chuck Schumer and the Democrats."

"Schumer doesn't want us to pass this. Schumer wants this to fail. And so no Republican should be deceived when Schumer-- Schumer made the argument, he called it a hoax. Now, look, I'll note that Schumer and Obama, they know a lot about healthcare hoaxes. You know, Obamacare was sold to the American people on a whole series of lies," said Cruz. 

Cruz had previously announced his opposition to the Senate's first iteration of the plan, joining fellow Republicans including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in issuing a joint statement on the bill's shortcomings.

"There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs," the statement said.

As a result, Cruz, in conjunction with Lee, drafted the Consumer Freedom Act in an effort to sway more Conservative members and provide a fix to the Senate bill's issues.

Lee said on "Face the Nation" last week that his and Cruz's plan would "reinject free market forces" into the current environment by guaranteeing patients at least one Obamacare compliant plan.

But Lee urged lawmakers to adopt a full repeal of the ACA and replace it at a later date if politics get in the way of passing their health care fix.

Cruz said, however, that failure of the plan is "not an option" for Republicans who ran on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

"There's no doubt this has been a rocky path to getting there. But I continue to believe we can get this done," Cruz said.

Cruz said their fix to the plan is "designed to be a compromise that can bring together both conservatives and moderates."

Cruz said that many senators have been working "in good faith," and collaboratively, for a long time, and that the focus should be on lowering premiums. 

"The biggest reason so many millions of people are unhappy with Obamacare is that it's made their premiums skyrocket," he said. "If we can fix that with commonsense solutions, give people more choices, more options, more freedoms, and lower premiums, that'll be a win."

"What Obamacare does is it takes millions of young people, millions of people just starting out their career, and it jacks up their premiums, it doubles or triples their premiums, and then it uses that money not for those people, but to cross subsidize those who are sick," noted Cruz.

He suggested to instead use taxpayer funds to cover the costs for patients with pre-existing conditions. 

"Let's use Warren Buffet's taxes and not that of a 28-year-old woman starting her career," Cruz said. He added, "The Senate bill has billions in taxpayer subsidies and stabilization funds so that the premiums for pre-existing conditions stay stabilized and low."

The existing Senate bill would fail if just three of the 52 Republicans vote no, since all Democrats oppose it. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to cancel a planned vote on the measure last week after far more Republicans than that objected, and he spent the Independence Day recess studying possible changes that might win over GOP dissidents.

Meanwhile, Senator John McCain of Arizona told "Face the Nation" that he fears the bill will fail.

"I've been wrong. I thought I'd be president of the United States," said McCain. "But I think - I think I fear that it's going to fail. And then we should convene a Republican conference, say, 'What are we going to do?' Introduce a bill. Say to the Democrats, 'Here's a bill.' It doesn't mean they don't, that they control it. It means they can have amendments considered. And even when they lose, then they're part of the process. That's what democracy is supposed to be all about."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital