Marco Rubio on Health Care

Republican Florida Senator


Let people decide how to spend health care dollars

Repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a system that puts Americans in charge of their health care. If your employer wants to buy insurance for you, they can do so from any company they want. Otherwise, your employers can provide you health care money, tax-free, and you can use that money only for health care. If you don't have that, you will have a refundable tax credit that provides you money to buy your own.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

All kids should get vaccinated, with medical exceptions

President Barack Obama said parents should get their kids vaccinated. "The science is pretty indisputable," Obama said. "We've looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren't reasons to not." The White House has stopped short of saying that there should be a law requiring parents to get their children vaccinated

Several Republicans also have voiced support for vaccinations. "Unless they are immune-suppressed for medical exceptions, but I believe all children should be vaccinated," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said. "Absolutely, all children in America should be vaccinated."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said all children should be vaccinated, and didn't know if another law was required.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) helped fuel the controversy this week, saying parents should "have some measure of choice" in vaccinating their children.

Source: Huffington Post 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 4, 2015

ObamaCare stifles entrepreneurship with regulation

Government mandates and regulations in the Affordable Care Act have created too much uncertainty to risk starting a new business. Both the legislation and the rhetoric coming out of Washington are making millions feel that going into business today is only for those who can afford to hire the army of lawyers and accountants it now takes to simply follow all the laws.
Source: American Dreams, by Marco Rubio, p. 23 , Jan 13, 2015

World Health Organization can't combat Ebola; only US can

The response to the Ebola outbreak by the international community has been slow and inadequate. The US initially stood back and allowed the global response to be led by the World Health Organization, which failed to combat Ebola in its earliest stages. As a result, Ebola ballooned from a local problem to a regional problem, and now to a global problem.

The US is the country best equipped with the resources and power to tackle the medical and logistical nightmare that the Ebola epidemic has become. With more than 4,000 dead and infection rates increasing, this outbreak of Ebola is not going to go away quickly.

Yet while we need a more effective and rapid response to contain the outbreak in West Africa, we also need to make sure sufficient safeguards are in place to protect Americans. We have to make sure that every aspect of our federal government's response--from our passenger screening efforts to our public health system--is effectively prepared to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Source: CNN.com editorial, "5 steps to beat Ebola," by Marco Rubio , Oct 16, 2014

Ban visas from Ebola-stricken countries; target the source

The United States must take several steps to strengthen our response to the Ebola challenge:
  1. Pres. Obama should publicly designate a senior government official to lead a task force, so Americans have some reassurance that someone in our country is in charge.
  2. We need to target the problem at the source--it's the right thing to do for humanitarian reasons, but it's also essential to protecting the American people
  3. The State Department should institute a temporary ban on new visas to non-US nationals seeking to travel to the US from Liberia, Sierra Leone & Guinea. We should also ensure that agents at airports have the equipment & training to deal with potential cases. And additional travel restrictions should not be ruled out.
  4. We should consider centralizing all future cases at the two medical facilities in the US that have already successfully treated patients.
  5. Finally, we need to increase our efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine and to increase production of antiviral drugs.
Source: CNN.com editorial, "5 steps to beat Ebola," by Marco Rubio , Oct 16, 2014

Medicaid expansion fails because funded only for a few years

Q: You outlined turning over major poverty programs like Head Start to the states. But some of the states opted out of federal programs like Medicaid.

RUBIO: Well, here is the distinguishing factor. Under ObamaCare, when you turn Medicaid over to the states what you're saying to them is the money will be available up front for the expansion for a few years, then the money will go away but you get stuck with the unfunded liability. I'm not saying we should do that. I'm actually saying that what we should do is take the existing federal funding that we use for some of these programs, and we're still working through which ones those should be, collapse them in to one central federal agency that would then transfer that money to fund innovative state programs that address the same issues. But it would be funded, it wouldn't be something where states are told you get the money for a few years then we'll back away. And it should be revenue neutral.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 12, 2014

FactCheck: ObamaCare is not now forcing loss of insurance

Rubio said, "ObamaCare was supposed to help middle-class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with."

The fact is, ObamaCare is expected to cause millions of uninsured Americans to gain health insurance, not lose it. Rubio's office points to a Congressional Budget Office report that said 27 million of the uninsured would have coverage by 2017.

Rubio's claim about some people losing "health insurance they were happy with" references the CBO's estimate that the number with employer-sponsored coverage would decline by 7 million by 2017. That's a net reduction, with some workers gaining coverage, some losing it, and others deciding to obtain other insurance on their own.

But these are estimates for what the insurance landscape will look like in the future. People aren't "now . losing the health insurance they were happy with," as Rubio said. In fact, CBO's estimates show 2 million uninsured Americans gaining coverage this year.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 14, 2013

Expand mental health centers; address violence at its source

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the Excellence in Mental Health Act to strengthen our nation's mental health services. The bill, introduced in the wake of the recent tragedy in Newtown, puts mental health centers on more equal footing with other health centers by improving quality standards and expanding access to ensure more people can get the mental health care they need.

"America must approach the issue of mental illness with the care, attention and compassion that it deserves," said Rubio. "Through recent acts of violence, we have seen the tragic cost that can come from untreated mental illnesses. This bill addresses violence at its source and will ease the struggles of countless individuals and families."

Fewer than half of the people with severe mental disorders receive treatment of any kind in a given year. The current lack of access to quality care ultimately forces local law enforcement to respond to psychiatric emergencies and diverts officers from other duties.

Source: Rubio Senate office Press release, "Address mental illness" , Feb 7, 2013

Address mental illness with care, attention and compassion

Rubio and a bipartisan group of senators today introduced the Excellence in Mental Health Act to strengthen our nation's mental health services. The bill, introduced in the wake of the recent tragedy in Newtown, puts mental health centers on more equal footing with other health centers by improving quality standards and expanding access.

"America must approach the issue of mental illness with the care, attention and compassion that it deserves," said Rubio. "Through recent acts of violence, we have seen the tragic cost that can come from untreated mental illnesses. The Excellence in Mental Health Act will save lives by addressing violence at its source and will ease the struggles of countless individuals and families dealing with mental illness."

Source: Rubio Senate press release, "Strengthen Mental Health" , Feb 7, 2013

Backed out of Race for the Cure over abortion funding fight

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a rising Tea Party star, was a strong candidate for Komen. He and his family participated in the October 15 Race for the Cure in Miami, and Senator and Mrs. Rubio had agreed to serve as honorary chairman of Komen's Perfect Pink Party in Palm Beach. The senator announced his race participation on Twitter the morning of the race. The tweet created a Twitter backlash that prompted his chief of staff to contact a Komen board member and then me.

I knew from following Senator Rubio's career that he is extremely pro-life, and I was certain that this had to be a difficult issue for him--his desire to support Komen versus his faith. I would later learn that the senator received calls from two Florida bishops.

A week later, the senator withdrew from Komen, including stepping away from his role with the Palm Beach gala in January. I was not surprised.

Source: Planned Bullyhood, by Karen Handel, p. 89-90 , Sep 11, 2012

Medicare's hospice care let my father die with dignity

For Marco Rubio to say programs like Medicare and Social Security weaken Americans is flat out Psycho Talk, MSNBC commentator Ed Schultz barked. On the same network host Rachel Maddow reminded her viewers about a previous speech in which Rubio had said that Medicare paid for his father's health care during the illness that led to his death in 2010. The government program had "allowed him to die with dignity by paying for his hospice care," Rubio had said. Maddow argued that there was a glaring inconsistency. "What would he run as, the guy who says Medicare saved his father and his family but it's also turned you weak and helpless?" she told her viewers. Yet the address she cited was an impassioned plea to save Medicare by reforming it. Rubio specifically stated that he would not advocate changing the system for anyone over the age of 55. He wasn't advocating abolishing entitlement programs for current recipients. But he was calling for change to the system so that it had a chance to endure.
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 9 , Jun 19, 2012

Expand prescription benefits to low-income seniors

Florida Democrats had come up with a plan to expand prescription benefits to low-income seniors. This was a weak spot of Republicans. Polls had long shown that seniors smiled upon Democrats for their stance supporting health care benefits for retirees. Rubio wanted to reverse that perception, and they came up with their own drug plan, albeit a more modest version. Still, some Republicans were reluctant, so Rubio sent a message: if Republicans weren't willing to get behind the plan, "then they haven't been paying attention," he declared in a newspaper interview. Message delivered. They had managed to take an issue that had been a Democratic strong suit and make it their own. A version of the proposal passed in the house and, in a bit of a surprise, also won approval from the senate.
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.109 , Jun 19, 2012

Provide alternatives to employer-based insurance system

Q: In an article you wrote: "Any solution should ultimately seek to promote a vibrant private market where individuals can buy health insurance the way we buy auto insurance, independent of our employer, with the kind of flexibility and coverage we need & at affordable prices." Would you move away from an employer-based health insurance system?

RUBIO: Well, it's not about moving away. It's about providing an alternative to it.

Q: If you go to Washington, would you work to repeal healthcare reform?

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate , Mar 28, 2010

Launch a marketplace of affordable health insurance

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio , Nov 1, 2006

Capitated managed-care systems achieve better value

The 2005 Legislature authorized a sweeping reform of the Medicaid program, providing increased choices for consumers and incentives for early identification and management of chronic diseases, particularly in children. In addition, the new Medicaid encourages healthy habits by rewarding healthy behavior with spending accounts for health items such as over-the-counter medicine.

Medicaid reform provides more money for consumers in two eligibility categories--low-income families and persons who are elderly and disabled. The remaining Medicaid patients should be able to benefit from the reform initiative as soon as possible.

Reform relies on capitated managed care systems to achieve fiscal accountability and better value for patients. The plan also invites active participation through the development of provider service networks (PSNs), an innovative method of service delivery in which providers offer expertise in care management.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p.123-124 , Nov 1, 2006

Voted YES on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts.

Proponent's Arguments for voting Yes:

[Sen. DeMint, R-SC]: The Democrats have Medicare on a course of bankruptcy. Republicans are trying to save Medicare & make sure there are options for seniors in the future. Medicare will not be there 5 or 10 years from now. Doctors will not see Medicare patients at the rate [Congress will] pay.

[Sen. Ayotte, R-NH]: We have 3 choices when it comes to addressing rising health care costs in Medicare. We can do nothing & watch the program go bankrupt in 2024. We can go forward with the President's proposal to ration care through an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats. Or we can show real leadership & strengthen the program to make it solvent for current beneficiaries, and allow future beneficiaries to make choices.

Opponent's Arguments for voting No:

[Sen. Conrad, D-ND]: In the House Republican budget plan, the first thing they do is cut $4 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the wealthiest among us, they give them an additional $1 trillion in tax reductions. To offset these massive new tax cuts, they have decided to shred the social safety net. They have decided to shred Medicare. They have decided to shred program after program so they can give more tax cuts to those who are the wealthiest among us.

[Sen. Merkley, D-TK]: The Republicans chose to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan reopens the doughnut hole. That is the hole into which seniors fall when, after they have some assistance with the first drugs they need, they get no assistance until they reach a catastrophic level. It is in that hole that seniors have had their finances devastated. We fixed it. Republicans want to unfix it and throw seniors back into the abyss. Then, instead of guaranteeing Medicare coverage for a fixed set of benefits for every senior--as Medicare does now--the Republican plan gives seniors a coupon and says: Good luck. Go buy your insurance. If the insurance goes up, too bad.
Status: Failed 40-57

Reference: Ryan Budget Plan; Bill HCR34&SCR21 ; vote number 11-SV077 on May 25, 2011

Opposes government-run healthcare.

Rubio opposes the CC survey question on government-run healthcare

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Federal government run health care system"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q5 on Aug 11, 2010

Defund, repeal, & replace federal care with free market.

Rubio signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care:

Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA07 on Jul 8, 2010

Repeal any federal health care takeover.

Rubio signed Club for Growth's "Repeal-It!" Pledge

The Club for Growth's "Repeal-It!" Pledge for candidates states, "I hereby pledge to the people of my district/state upon my election to the U.S. House of Representatives/U.S. Senate, to sponsor and support legislation to repeal any federal health care takeover passed in 2010, and replace it with real reforms that lower health care costs without growing government."

Source: Club for Growth's "Repeal-It!" Pledge 10-CfG-can on Jul 4, 2010

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