Marco Rubio still undecided on health care bill, but liking what he sees – Florida Politics

Marco Rubio still undecided on health care bill, but liking what he sees

In a new video he released through his office through social media, Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said he still is undecided about the Senate health care bill, but is still studying how it might affect Floridians and sounds generally encouraged, especially about Medicaid.

Last week when the Senate bill was released, Rubio issued a video in which he said he was undecided and would spend however much time it takes to make a decision, and would base that decision on how the bill might affect Floridians.

On Tuesday, in his new 16-minute video released through Facebook Live, Rubio defended the bill’s Medicaid provisions – nationally universally criticized by Democrats, some Republicans and many major health care advocates for cutting Medicaid money – because he argued the cuts are not uniform across all states, and that he believes Florida actually could wind up with more money than before, while other states take the big hits.

He expressed less confidence in what the bill could do to overhaul the individual marketplace for health care insurance, saying that remains uncertain, and he is still studying it.

“I did not decide if I can support it yet,” Rubio said of the Senate bill.

Rubio said he’s been meeting with Florida state leaders from Senate President Joe Negron to state health officials trying to analyze how the bill would affect Florida’s Medicaid program and its insurance and health care laws and regulations, and would be meeting with Gov. Rick Scott in Washington over the next couple of days. Some Florida officials have dome to Washington to work side-by-side with his staff, he said.

He cited what many critics of Florida’s health care programs might take as an irony, that the Sunshine State’s Medicaid programs, without Medicaid expansion and with a federal waiver, by state design, are so relatively small compared to other states that Florida likely would benefit from some of the Medicaid redistribution he says is in the Senate bill.

“We still need to run the numbers. We still need to see what this actually means for Florida. But there is the potential, we should know more later today, that for Florida, with this proposed change, that could actually mean more money, not less money. Maybe not a lot more, but certainly not a cut,” Rubio said.

The individual marketplace issue, he said is complicated because Florida does not have a “functional individual marketplace” now, outside of the highly-structured exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. So there is more uncertainty how the changes proposed in the Senate health care bill might affect Florida.

“That’s the part we’re going to dig into a little deeper,” he said.

He said he is not operating under any deadlines. He alluded to statements and signals from Senate President Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders in the Senate that a vote could come this week, and that a bill must be passed this summer, “artificial deadlines.”

“Look, here’s the bottom line: I was elected in 2010 on the promise of repealing ObamaCare. I was re-elected in 2016 on the promise of repealing ObamaCare. I am going to vote to repeal ObamaCare,” Rubio said. “But it has to be done in a way that makes things better.”


Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at


  1. I hope you will have the courage to vote no on this health care measure. It will be devastating for Florida.

  2. Shame on you. While Floridians may not suffer as much as others, many will still suffer. Florida has a strong service industry portion of their economy. These positions rarely have insurance available. So what are these people supposed to do. I know a young man who has been diagnosed with aneurysms in his brain. He is struggling to work multiple jobs to support his children. His jobs don’t offer insurance. What are his options under the current system? Work and struggle until he dies. Shame on all who vote fort this bill.

  3. You were voted into office to protect all Florida residents by creating a better Health Care bill not one that’s far worse then the ACA. Have the courage to retool the ACA so insurance markets can function without political uncertainty. Vote no on a bill to remove health care from 22 million of the poorest citizens while giving tax breaks to the wealthiest 1%.

  4. President Trump promised on numerous occasions that a very good, affordable and equitable health care would be provided for all of the people in America without touching Medicare or social security. I am retired and my family will be profoundly impacted by these new revisions. I am overwhelmingly displeased with this very dark, mean and dispassionate legislation that wantonly disregards the will and well being of the American people. Please relay my displeasure.

  5. Senator, please, show us that you have the backbone and decency not to throw your constituents under the bus! The ACA has its problems and needs to be improved upon. I see no sense in voting for a different plan that would throw out the good and the bad in the ACA and replacing it with something worse! This is no way to treat the families in your own state! We depend on you to make decisions to protect us and improve our lives not pull us all down! Vote “no” jniess you can improve upon what the ACA provided.

  6. Senator, please, show us that you have the backbone, empathy and moral decency not to throw our children (your future constituents) under the bus! Please remove the pre-existing conditions clause from the chopping block. This clause protects the profits for the insurance companies, not the the services to our chronically sick patients: I for one. This is no way to treat the voters in your own state! We depend on you to make decisions to protect all of us, not just the wealthy.

  7. This bill, Mr Rubio, is as un-American as an act of treason! How can you leave over 22million uninsured? How can you cut Medicaid and Medicare, yet give a tax break to the very wealthy? Why should we worry about national security and defense when you will be killing millions of people by denying them insurance? I know you disagree that health insurance is a right that every American has. Next time we vote we will remember this,
    Mr Rubio. You should be ashamed that Cuba has a better health care system than we do!

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