Senator Ted Cruz is often asked about doing away with President Obama’s health care law. He is less rarely pressed by voters on what will replace it.
But at a middle school cafeteria here, a man, Mike Valde, presented him with a tragic tale. His brother-in-law Mark was a barber — “a small-business man,” he said. He had never had a paid vacation day. He received health insurance at last because of the Affordable Care Act. He began to feel sick and went to a doctor.
“He had never been to a doctor for years,” Mr. Valde, 63, of Coralville, Iowa, said. “Multiple tumors behind his heart, his liver, his pancreas. And they said, ‘We’re sorry, sir, there’s nothing we can do for you.’ ”
The room was silent.
“Mark never had health care until Obamacare,” Mr. Valde continued. “What are you going to replace it with?”
Mr. Cruz expressed condolences and pivoted quickly to a well-worn answer assailing the health care law.