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ICYMI: Rubio Discusses Medicare Reform

Mar 23, 2012 | Press Releases

Interview with Jimmy Cefalo on 610AM News Radio WIOD
Senator Marco Rubio
March 23, 2012
Jimmy Cefalo: “You say that Medicare should be guided by three key principles. What are they and how do you see this working?”
Senator Marco Rubio: “Well, the first key principle is that we have to reform. Whatever solutions we come up with have to be real, it can’t be some cosmetic thing that allows us to buy another couple years of political time. The second is it can’t impact anybody that is currently in the program and I think it has to be people that are 55 years of age and older. And the reason why you do that is because if you told someone their whole life this is what they’re going to get when they retire and for 30 years they’ve paid into that system, you have to keep your word to them because they’ve planned their whole life around it. And the third is it can’t do anything to destroy economic growth like raise taxes. I’m concerned about what raising taxes will do to an economy that’s already not growing fast enough. So, these are the three principles that I think we need to be guided by. And within those principles, I think it is important that we have ideas on how to solve the Medicare issue. You know, Medicare should not be a partisan issue. I think all Americans benefit from Medicare. I think all Americans regardless of their political affiliation should be committed to saving Medicare, but if we do nothing, if we just leave the program the way it is and tinker at the edges, it will go bankrupt. It will come very soon when there won’t be a Medicare program like we know it.”
Cefalo: “That’s the frightening part about it. And there have been a lot of scare tactics, that have worked quite frankly, especially here in the state of Florida. But you point that out during your op-ed piece. But, the point that I try to make too, is that if you’re now 63, 64, 65, and you’re enjoying Medicare and nothing is done to fix it, you know, ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare’ is what we kept hearing from AARP and from the Democrats as well. If that happens, and you turn 80 or 81 and all of the sudden it becomes insolvent, that’s when you need it most, isn’t it?”
Rubio: “That’s exactly right. And I see it firsthand every day in my family. My mom is a Medicare recipient. She’s been having health struggles in the last couple years. My dad, who passed away a year and a half ago, I saw what Medicare meant for him. So, for me, Medicare is not some government program I’ve read about. I’m living it every day helping my parents and now my mom navigate the process. But, here’s what I would say because you’re absolutely right about it being used for politics. If you are a senior citizen, if you are listening to this show right now and you are over the age of 55, there are going to be no changes to the Medicare that has been promised to you. You are going to get the Medicare that was promised to you. Period. So this is not about people 55 years of age or over. So I repeat, if you are 55 years of age or older and you’re listening to this broadcast right now, this has nothing to do with you. Nothing is going to change for you. We are talking about what changes we need to make to my Medicare. I’m 40 years old, when I retire, what is my Medicare going to look like? And here’s what it is going to look like if we do nothing: there isn’t going to be one. So that’s why I think people like me, my generation, who are decades away from retirement, we are the ones that have to accept that our Medicare is not going to look the same as my parents’ Medicare.”
Listen to Senator Rubio’s full interview with Jimmy Cefalo here.