Words and Deeds: Senator Rubio’s Vote Betrays His Promises and Floridians

 

“It also doesn’t impact anyone getting insurance through Medicare. Medicare is not being touched in all of this.” (May 23, 2017)

 

 “I want to make sure that whatever other funding formula there is for Medicaid treats Florida fairly …so that we don't just get more coverage for people but that we get people coverage that actually is better for their health, gets better outcomes. " (May 23, 2017)

 

"I have voted for (repeal) in the past; I will do so again. I believe Obamacare is broken, I think it's bad for our country. The idea that somehow Obamacare is working well for people is just absolutely wrong." (July 18, 2017)

 

Senator Marco Rubio

 

It is no secret that Senator Rubio is a long-time opponent of the ACA. What we couldn’t have known was the extent to which he would sacrifice the well-being of vulnerable Floridians to score political points.

Yesterday, Senate leadership secured enough votes to proceed to debate on health care proposals, with Marco Rubio joining in. While we don’t know which of the widely opposed bills will be considered, all five GOP health bills have had the same core flaws and the bill can’t be fixed.

 

Every version:

  • causes more than 20 million people to lose coverage,

  • ends the Medicaid expansion and drastically cuts and caps the entire Medicaid program,

  • raises premiums and deductibles for millions of Americans, and

  • guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions; and

  • cuts taxes for the wealthy, drug companies, etc.

Senator Rubio promised to “decide how to vote on health care on the basis of how it impacts Florida” and to “continue to reach out for input and suggested changes from Florida providers, insurers and patient advocate groups.” There is overwhelming agreement – between providers, patients, insurers, Republican governors, catholic nuns, and even the Congressional Budget Office, and more – that these bills will be harmful to millions of Americans. Still, Senator Rubio forged ahead.

 

It is clear that we need to reset the conversation on health care and work to improve the ACA. Perhaps Senator Rubio will heed the words of Senator McCain: "Let the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee under Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray hold hearings, try to report a bill out of committee with contributions from both sides. Then bring it to the floor for amendment and debate, and see if we can pass something that will be imperfect, full of compromises, and not very pleasing to implacable partisans on either side, but that might provide workable solutions to problems Americans are struggling with today.”

 

On July 10th, advocates delivered a letter to Senator Rubio urging him to commit to basic principles that should be the common goal of all sides. The letter called for Senator Rubio to publicly commit to opposing any bill that: increases the number of uninsured; guts Medicaid; and eliminates protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

 

While he hasn’t responded to the letter, he has voted to move ahead with bills that will harm Floridians.

 

Actions speak louder than words.

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