Rubio: “The President keeps saying there are people in town that want this plan to fail. Mr. President, the plan is already failing. It’s failing by your own admission. … In the short-term funding bill, we should not pay for the implementation of ObamaCare. And let me be clear, anyone who votes for the short-term budget that funds ObamaCare is voting to move forward with ObamaCare.”
Excerpts from U.S. Senate Floor Speech
Senator Marco Rubio
July 18, 2013
RUBIO TO OBAMA: OBAMACARE IS STILL BEING TALKED ABOUT BECAUSE IT IS A DISASTER
Senator Marco Rubio: “Just a few moments ago, I heard the President speaking from the White House regarding ObamaCare. He was lamenting, he was saying that, ‘Why are we still litigating old news around here? Let’s move on to other things. This issue has been finished with.’ Well, Mr. President, the reason why this issue is still being talked about is because ObamaCare is a disaster. Now, look, I think it’s important to remember when we talk about health insurance that most Americans do have health insurance that they’re happy with, but no one would dispute that we have a health insurance problem in this country.
“Now, for many who have insurance, the cost of their insurance is getting unaffordable, and for many others, they have no access to insurance at all. They have a job perhaps that doesn’t provide it or they are chronically ill and so insurance is impossible for them to find or they are young and they are healthy and they never go to a doctor, so they figure why do they need it. Yes, for millions of people, the cost and availability of insurance is a real problem, and we should do something about that. The problem is that ObamaCare as a solution is really a massive government takeover of health insurance in America, and it doesn’t fix the problem. It only makes it worse, Mr. President, and that’s why we’re still talking about it. It makes it worse for a number of reasons, and tomorrow I am going to visit a business in Florida where the reality of this is growing every single day.”
RUBIO: FUTURE OF GATORLAND, LOCAL BUSINESSES THREATENED BY OBAMACARE POLICIES
Rubio: “Tomorrow, I’ll visit Gatorland. Gatorland is in Central Florida. It’s a tourist destination where many Floridians and tourists have taken their kids to see alligators and to enjoy Florida’s unique wildlife. But for about 135 Orlando area residents, Gatorland, it’s their workplace. It’s their livelihood. It’s how they feed their family. It’s how they pay their mortgage. It’s how they get ahead in life.
“And the reason why we’re still litigating this, Mr. President, is like -- because like hundreds of thousands of other businesses around the country, ObamaCare is threatening to unravel all of these things. It is threatening to unravel the livelihood of 135 Floridians who work at Gatorland, to shatter their financial security for them and their families. Let me describe to you the problem.
“Gatorland has 135 full-time employees. Gatorland currently pays 80 percent of the insurance cost for these employees. Okay? But now under ObamaCare, evidently what they are doing is not going to be enough. ObamaCare, first of all, requires them not just to provide insurance but to provide for them a certain type of insurance, a type of insurance that the government has decided is enough. And second, because of ObamaCare, Gatorland’s cost of insurance that they want to provide for their employees is going to go up. That is, if they want to continue to pay 80 percent of the insurance costs for 135 Floridians who work there, it’s going to cost them a lot more money.
“Those are two problems. One is, they have to offer a certain type of insurance. The one they have potentially may not be enough, according to the government. And number two, because of all these changes going on in ObamaCare, it’s going to cost Gatorland more money to provide 80 percent of the cost of the insurance.
“So what does this mean in the real world? Here’s what it means: it means as Gatorland looks into next year and into the future, they now have a new cost on their books. As they look at their business plan for the coming year, all of a sudden, they see that on the cost side of it, it’s gotten more expensive. So if they want to stay in business, they’re going to have to figure out a way to come up with that extra money. So what are their options to come up with this extra money?
“Well, option number one is they can raise their prices. Option number two is they can cut back on expenses like employees and benefits and hours. Option number three is just not to comply at all with ObamaCare and pay a fine. Basically, don’t offer insurance to these employees, let them go out and find it in so-called exchanges, and pay a fine to the IRS. So I ask you, Mr. President and I ask the people of this country and I ask my colleagues here, which one of these three options is good for our country? Which one of these three options is good for America? And which one of these three options is good for the 135 people who feed their families by working at Gatorland?
“If they raise their prices, that means the cost of going to Gatorland goes up. Now, I understand our economy is not doing very well these days. Millions of people are underemployed and unemployed, they’re working twice as hard and making half as much, and you’re going to make it more expensive for them to go on vacation. I would argue to you that raising their prices is probably not an option available to them anyway. Gatorland is not Disney World and it’s not Universal and it’s not one of these big tourist destinations. It’s a small place who has to compete. And if you raise prices, there comes a point where people just won’t go. So not only is raising prices bad for our economy and for people that visit Florida and want to take their families there, it might not even be feasible. So that’s certainly not a good option. It may not even be an option at all.
“The second option is, ‘Well, we have to cut down on expenses with our employees.’ That means they can lay some people off, find the money by instead of having 135 employees trying to get by with 125 employees. That could mean not laying people off, but as people retire or quit, just not replacing them. Or that could mean moving some of these people that are working full time to part time so they can get around the ObamaCare mandates and so they can lower their costs. How is that good for our economy? How is that good for 135 people that work at Gatorland? How is that good for Florida? How is that good for us?
“The third option is they could pay the fine, but it’s going to cost at least 135 people in my state an insurance that they’re happy with. And I want you, Mr. President, to remember what you said, in fact what you repeated today in your statements just a moment ago at the White House. You said that if you’re happy with your insurance, you can keep it. Well, for 135 people working at Gatorland in Central Florida, that may not be true, Mr. President. They could lose their insurance that’s working well for them, that they’re happy with because of this experiment.
“So that’s why we keep revisiting this issue. Interestingly enough, by the way, that’s not just me saying that. This week, some prominent labor unions, labor unions who were actually in favor of this law, lead among them was the Teamsters head, Jimmy Hoffa, wrote a letter to the President attacking this very point. They said this new law is breaking that promise that was made that if you’re happy with your coverage, you’re not going to lose it. Now, I singled out Gatorland because that’s the real world. That’s where I’m going tomorrow and that happens to be in my state. But there are thousands of businesses like this that are facing these decisions. There’s not one. There are hundreds of thousands of businesses that are facing this dilemma who have these same concerns.”
RUBIO TO OBAMA: OBAMACARE IS ALREADY FAILING. IT’S FAILING BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION
Rubio: “The president keeps saying there are people in town that want this plan to fail. They keep bringing up ObamaCare because they want it to fail. Mr. President, the plan is already failing. It’s failing by your own admission. You have just had to cancel, you have just had to suspend, one of the critical components of this bill because it’s not doable. This plan is already failing on its own. And, by the way, if you’re going to accuse us of wanting ObamaCare to fail, you better accuse the Teamsters of it. Because they have the same criticisms on this point that I’ve raised here today.
“I think we’ve reached a point where no matter how we voted on ObamaCare – I wasn’t here – but no matter how you may have voted on ObamaCare if you were, no matter who you voted for president, no matter if you are a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent, this issue is bigger than that, it’s bigger than politics. This is really about people. And today I highlighted the plight that 135 people in Florida are facing, but hundreds of thousands if not millions of others will soon face. As Americans we have to come to grips with the fact this law is a terrible mistake. And that we can’t go forward with it because it’s going to hurt millions of middle-class Americans in the ways that I’ve just described.
“We’re going to have an opportunity to get this right in September, because we’re going to have to come here and vote on a short-term budget to fund the government. And I really implore my colleagues to use that as an opportunity to put the brakes on this terrible mistake before more people lose their insurance, to put the brakes on this before more people lose their jobs and put the brakes on this before more people lose their businesses. In that short-term funding bill we should not pay for the implementation of ObamaCare.
“And let me be clear, anyone who votes for the short-term budget that funds ObamaCare is voting to move forward with ObamaCare. Don’t come here and say, ‘I’m against ObamaCare,’ if you’re willing to vote for a budget that funds it. If you pay for it, you own it. And I want to make clear to the employees of Gatorland, to the people of Florida and anyone who is watching. I want the working people of Florida and America to know, that I for one will not vote for any bill or any budget that funds the implementation of this disaster. Now does that mean that we shouldn’t do anything about health insurance in America? Of course it doesn’t mean that. We should do something, something that protects what’s good about the current system and fixes what is bad with it.”