Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas congratulated a woman for her struggles and dealing with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) during a CNN debate with Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont Feb. 7 (video below).
Cruz took a question from Carol Hardaway, who informed him that she had MS, but could not get care in Texas because she could not afford it and because Texas refused to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare.
Hardaway recalled how she moved to Maryland and got care within two weeks with Medicaid. Hardaway then asked Cruz: "Senator Cruz, can you promise me that you and the Republican leaders in Congress will actually have a replacement plan in place for people like me who depend on their Medicaid? In other words, I like my coverage. Can I keep it?"
Cruz began his answer by congratulating her: "Well, Carol, thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on dealing with MS. It's a terrible disease. And congratulations on your struggles dealing with it."
Hardaway told Time magazine her reaction to Cruz's comment on Feb. 8: "When I got home, I was like, 'What? He’s congratulating me? What did he just say?' And I replayed it again, and I said, 'No, he didn’t.' It was a little bit unnerving to be honest. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, 'Oh, I think I would like to have M.S.'"
Cruz went on to call Medicaid a "profoundly troubled program" because 54 percent of doctors choose to refuse to accept new Medicaid patients, moms get turned down for dentist appointments at a 63 percent rate, and Medicaid patients "are almost twice as likely to die from medical treatment than those with private health insurance."
PolitiFact notes that people on Medicaid have worse medical results than those on private insurance because they are often sicker and wait until the last minute to get medical care for their problems.
The fact-checking site also said that several studies have shown Medicaid has improved the lives of many patients or, at the very least, not made them worse.