(CNSNews.com) - "There's no doubt we need commonsense health care reform," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a forum in New Hampshire Monday night. But he said that does not include a single word of Obamacare:
"I've been proud to lead the fight to stop Obamacare in the United States Senate, (working) against the Washington cartel. And there are a lot of politicians in Washington that have largely given up. They don't believe Obamacare can ever be repealed, including, sadly, a fair number of Republicans.
"I don't believe that. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on repealing Obamacare, and if I'm elected president, we will repeal every word of Obamacare and we'll pass commonsense health insurance reform to make health insurance personal and portable and affordable."
Cruz said health care reform should expand competition, empower patients, and "disempower government bureaucrats" from coming between patients and their doctors.
Cruz advocates a plan that would allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, which would create a "true national marketplace" and low-cost catastrophic health insurance. He also wants to expand health savings accounts to help people pay for routine health matters; and he likes the idea of portability -- delinking health insurance from a job, so your insurance follows you wherever you go.
Cruz noted that Obamacare has done nothing to address health care costs: "In New Hampshire, insurance companies have put in this year for premium increases of 51 percent; in Iowa, 30 percent; in South Carolina, 33 percent.
"Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have lost their health care, have been forced into part time work."
All but three of the 17 declared Republicans presidential hopefuls took part in Monday night's pre-debate forum, which the Associated Press described as "a prime-time practice round for the GOP's most ambitious."