We are less than a week away from the launch of the Affordable Care Act and a possible partial shutdown of the federal government. With all that as his back-drop Texas Senator Ted Cruz Wednesday morning wrapped up his marathon talk against Obamacare from the Senate floor while a counter-point of view was being delivered here in Austin.
With their hand drawn signs in support of Health Care Reform, a small group made a brief stop at the Austin office of Republican Congressman Lamar Smith.
"When you're playing games with politics you're playing games with the American people," said Michael McCann with Texas Fair share.
The visit was part of a larger nationwide effort organized by groups supporting President Barack Obama's domestic policies. Rep. Smith, a staunch conservative, was not in but protest leader Michael McCann hopes Smith will get their message.
"To just ignore one half of your constituency because maybe you don't personally agree with them is not the job of a politician," said McCann.
As McCann's group left Senator Ted Cruz was also preparing to exit his stage in Washington.
"People ask what's your end game, it's very simple I have faith in the American people," said Senator Cruz.
For 21 hours in the Senate chamber the Texas Republican railed against the Affordable Care Act and the belt-way establishment.
"I believe I hope that republicans will unite and the democratic senators will start listening to their people," said the Senator.
His talk-a-thon garnered praise from his conservative tea party base, but it was also criticized by other conservatives as being counter-productive.
"I think it's more than symbolism, this is about freedom," said Conservative analyst Lisa Fritsch.
The 21 hour stand by the freshman Senator, according to Fritsch, was not a waste of time.
"I think what's accomplished is principle. A lot of times you go out on principle you go out and bring your convictions to action," said Fritsch.
With his allotted time expired, Cruz joined the rest of the Senate in what appeared to be a contradiction. He voted to move forward a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown. But Cruz was quick to point out he didn't flip-flop. He wants to set up one last confrontation over whether or not a section to defund Obamacare will be stripped out of the legislation.
"Anyone who votes to cut off debate in this bill is voting to allow Sen. Majority leader harry Reid to fully fund Obamacare."
The final act in this political theater is expected by this weekend. Researchers with an internet search engine calculated that- at one point Tuesday there were 200,000 tweets containing the words "Ted Cruz".
Analysts say even if the government shuts down Tuesday, essential services will still go on. That includes most of the support programs for the launch of Obamacare.
With enrollment less than a week away we are finally getting some Texas Obamacare insurance estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Those enrolling here in Austin will have 76 insurance plans to choose from. On average Texas residents will have about 50 options to consider. Monthly premium rates have come in below the national average.
Here's a snap shot example provided by HHS:
For the low priced - high deductible Bronze plan a 27-year-old earning $25,000 a year would pay about $85 a month. But that's after qualifying for a tax credit. The Silver plan for that person would run about $169.
A family of four with an income of $50,000 would pay $64 a month for a Bronze policy. The price is lower because some families can get a larger tax credit.