Protesters converged on a town hall meeting in McKinney Wednesday night held by Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
They had a variety of beefs, but most were directed at the Republican effort to overhaul Obamacare.
Cruz kicked off a statewide town hall tour in North Texas. The tour is hosted by a veteran’s advocacy group called Concerned Veterans for America. He spoke about issues concerning veterans, but most of the 100 or so people in the audience wanted to talk about healthcare.
The senator spoke about his own new idea to overhaul a major component of Obamacare. And that's when it got heated.
Cruz talked about holding the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable and wanting to expand the Veterans Choice Program so veterans can choose their own doctors.
"Every veteran should have the right to see any doctor they choose,” he said. “It should be your decision."
But the conversation quickly turned to healthcare.
"Obamacare, the last seven years has proven to be a manifest disaster,” he said. “The most important focus is on lowering premiums. The single most biggest reason people are unhappy with Obamacare is because they can't afford health insurance premiums. I hear that every single day as I travel Texas. What I am pressing Senate Republicans: let's focus on lowering premiums, and that's a win-win for everyone."
Some in the crowd then questioned whether certain coverage would remain if Obamacare is repealed.
"When you mandate what every policy has to cover, you drive the cost up so high that a lot of people can't afford it,” Cruz said. “There are a whole lot of people, for example, who don't necessarily want full comprehensive coverage of everything."
Cruz spoke about his amendment to the current Senate bill drafted by the Senate, what he's named the Consumer Freedom Amendment. It would allow insurance companies to offer a plan that adheres to Obamacare standards, but would also allow companies to offer plans that do not comply with those standards. Those plans would likely be stripped down, cheaper policies without protection for features, like preexisting conditions.
Cruz also talked about the need for more defense funding so the U.S. can compete with North Korea and Russia. He also pushed his VA Information Technology Restructuring Act, which would work to improve IT infrastructure at the VA.
But top of everyone's mind was healthcare. Cruz's plan has been submitted to the Congressional Budget Office for consideration. It's expected to complete its report next week.
The senator will continue his town hall series through the weekend. He'll make stops in San Antonio, Austin and Houston.