Fighting for Florida

"Looking For Medicare Solutions, Not Politics As Usual"

"Medicare is going bankrupt. Anyone who says it is not is simply lying. And anyone who is in favor of doing nothing to deal with this fact is in favor of bankrupting it."

May 26 2011

For me, Medicare is not a political talking point. My parents immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s. They worked hard for over 40 years to provide their children the chance to do all the things they themselves could not. But they never made much money.

As a result, they retired with precious little in savings. Medicare was and is the only way they could access healthcare.

When my father got sick, Medicare paid for his numerous hospital stays. And as he reached the end of life, Medicare allowed him to die with dignity by paying for his hospice care.

Like most 80-year-olds, my mother has several age-related ailments. Without the access to quality healthcare that Medicare pays for, I cannot imagine what life would be like for her.

America needs Medicare. We need it to continue without any benefit reductions for those like my mother currently in the system. And we need it to survive for my generation and my children’s generation.

But Medicare is going bankrupt. Anyone who says it is not is simply lying. And anyone who is in favor of doing nothing to deal with this fact is in favor of bankrupting it. Medicare will go broke in as little as nine years. No one likes this news, but it is the undeniable truth. And the sooner we begin to deal with it, the better off we are all going to be.

My goals are simple. First, I will not support any plan that changes Medicare for people like my mother who are currently on the plan. We cannot ask seniors to go out and get a job to pay for their healthcare.

Second, any solution must solve the problem. We need to save Medicare, not simply delay its bankruptcy.

And third, any solution cannot hurt economic growth. At a time of high unemployment, Americans cannot afford to pay more taxes.

I will support any serious plan that accomplishes these three things. It does not matter to me if it comes from a Democrat or a Republican. Saving Medicare is more important than partisan politics.

Rep. Paul Ryan has offered a plan that would make no changes whatsoever for anyone age 55 and older. I support it because, right now, it is the only plan out there that helps save Medicare. Democrats oppose it. Fine. But, if they have a better way to save Medicare, what are they waiting for to show us? What is their plan to save Medicare?

Either show us how Medicare survives without any changes or show us what changes you propose we make. Anyone who supports doing nothing is a supporter of bankrupting Medicare.

Where is the House Democrat plan to save Medicare?

Where is the Senate Democrat plan to save Medicare?

Where is President Obama’s plan to save Medicare?

They have no plan to save it, and they do not plan to offer one. They have decided that winning their next election is more important than saving Medicare for my mother and retirees like her.

I have been in the Senate just long enough to be disgusted by the reality that Washington has too many people who think their personal political careers are more important than our country’s future.

Maybe the Democrats’ strategy to use Medicare as a political weapon will work. Maybe not offering their own plan to save Medicare will help them win seats in Congress and re-elect President Barack Obama. Maybe it is great for the Democratic Party. But it is terrible for people like my mother, and it is terrible for America.

Medicare is going bankrupt. If something does not happen soon, in just a few years whoever is in charge in Washington will have to go to people like my mother and tell them we can no longer afford to continue providing her with the same Medicare she is used to.

We have always had intense partisan politics in America. But throughout our history, on issues of generational importance, our leaders have agreed to put aside politics for the sake of our country. Shouldn’t saving Medicare be that kind of issue?

I am ready to work with anyone in Washington who is serious about saving Medicare. I am open to any serious solutions they have.

We are running out of time to save Medicare for our parents and secure it for our children. If we fail, history will never forgive us.

You can also read this op-ed here.


Senator Rubio: The President Was Wrong To Propose 1967 Lines In Israel Speech

Jimmy Cefalo: “What do you think of the President’s comments the other day? Did he simply bury the lede in not mentioning land swaps earlier on in that speech?”

Senator Rubio: “Well, first of all, when you’re the President of the United States, we can’t afford for you to make statements that are misunderstood. So, let’s suppose statements were misunderstood; that in and of itself is a mistake. This is a very dangerous region in the world. Israel lives in a terrible neighborhood of very violent neighbors, and it’s important, especially at this critical time with everything else that’s happening in the region, that all the enemies of Israel clearly understand that the United States is committed to their security. And so, I don’t think the President was misunderstood. I think it was very clear that he thought the 1967 lines were the starting point of negotiations, and then he talked about land swaps. But the biggest land swap of all is Jerusalem, which I think should be off the table because that is the capital of Israel. Or should be the capital of Israel and is for the Israeli people. So, I think what the President said the other day was very unfortunate, and the fact that he had to backtrack from it on Sunday proves that. And the fact that the Majority Leader in the Senate, the Democratic Leader Harry Reid, yesterday completely distanced himself from it proves that the President should not have said that last Thursday.”

Today, Senator Rubio signed a letter along with all 46 other Republicans in the Senate to press Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass the stalled FY2012 budget. After the late night theatrics and near-shut down of the federal government over the FY2011 budget, the American people are tired of the Washington games. For 754 days, the Senate Democrats have refused to pass a budget. In that time, our nation has accumulated approximately $3.2 trillion in new gross debt. This is no way to lead a nation, and Senate Republicans are sending a clear message to Senator Reid: pass a budget now.
The United States and Israel stand at a crossroads in our historic special relationship. Since recognizing Israel's independence in 1948, we have stood by her as a beacon of political and economic freedom in the midst of tyrannical regimes and terrorists determined to destroy her. American support has been crucial to Israel's continued existence and must be part of its future.
Meeting_Luis Fortuno
Senator Rubio traveled to Puerto Rico today to meet with Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño to discuss economic opportunities between Florida and Puerto Rico. Florida is home to thousands of Puerto Rican families and Puerto Rican culture is inextricably linked with our state. During their visit, Senator Rubio and Governor Fortuño discussed economic development, job creation, growing small businesses and health issues.
On this 109th anniversary of Cuban Independence, we honor the patriots who took Cuba's initial steps toward freedom. The spirit and values that drove Cuba's Independence movement still live on among the country's pro-democracy leaders who have demonstrated increasing boldness and courage as they risk their lives each day in defense of Cuba's founding principles.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has joined Senator Rubio in support of the Returned Exclusively For Unpaid National Debt (REFUND) Act. This legislation, which was introduced Tuesday and allows states to identify and return unwanted federal funds to the federal Treasury in order to help pay down the national debt, is gaining broad support in the Senate as well. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), David Vitter (R-LA), John Barrasso (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) have all signed on as co-sponsors, with more expected soon.
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Senator Rubio:  Senior Tax Simplification Bill Will Save Seniors Time And Money

Bud Hedinger: “You and Senator Bill Nelson may not agree on too many things, but you’ve gotten together on a new piece of legislation that relates to taxes and our seniors in Florida. What can you tell us about this ‘Senior Tax Simplification’ bill?”

Senator Rubio: “Well, I think we need tax simplification for everybody on multiple fronts, but I think starting with seniors is a way we can get a lot of consensus. And what it basically is is it’s just going to make it easier for seniors to do their taxes. It’s a more simplified form. It will be easier for seniors that, for example, get some of their retirement income from their investments, to fill out that portion of their taxes. We’re just trying to make life a little bit easier for seniors.  And so, we’ve filed a bill today that will change the 1040 form for those over 65 so that they can follow a more expedited and simple process, and they won’t need to hire an accountant. It will save them that money, and it will save them the time and hassle of our complicated tax code. I think I’ll get strong bi-partisan support for it, and hopefully it will become the law of the country here soon.”

More than they have in decades, states are turning down federal money because of the burdens that go with it (see below). Yet the feds then turn around and give the money to other states, which makes little sense with a deficit this year of $1.65 trillion.