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Rubio: ObamaCare Hurting Seniors Is One More Reason We Must Defund It

Aug 1, 2013 | Press Releases

Excerpts from U.S. Senate Floor Speech
Senator Marco Rubio
August 1, 2013

Senator Marco Rubio: “There are a lot of reasons to be nervous about [ObamaCare] if you’re a supporter, but let me give you one more today, and that’s the impact that it’s going to have on our seniors. We haven’t heard a lot of talk about this yet, but let me focus on one group of seniors in particular, and that is seniors that are on something called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage is a Medicare program where basically you contract with a private company to administer your benefits under Medicare, and how these companies compete for your business is that they add all sorts of value-added services, for example, transportation. My mom’s on Medicare Advantage and one of the reasons they get her business is that, in addition to good doctors, they actually will pick her up from home because she can’t and doesn’t drive and take her to her doctor’s appointments. These are the kinds of benefits that Medicare Advantage offers. Here’s the problem. ObamaCare cuts about $156 billion out of Medicare Advantage. By the way, not to save Medicare. It throws it into the overall budget on ObamaCare.

“Medicare Advantage is a program that works. I can tell you that firsthand because I see it in my mom’s life, and I see it in the lives of thousands of seniors in Florida that are on Medicare Advantage. Now, you may ask yourself, ‘Well, if this is so bad, why haven’t we heard any of this before?’ And the reason is because the insurance companies, because of a gag order, are prohibited from talking about any of this until you start getting your benefits letter, and they’re coming. If you are a senior on Medicare Advantage, the chances are that soon you will open up the mail to the bad news that your Medicare Advantage, that you have and that you’re happy with, has been changed in a negative way for you because of ObamaCare. They don’t know that yet because the companies have not been allowed to tell them yet, but they will have to tell them soon, and when they do, you will add one more concern that people should rightfully have about ObamaCare and the impact that it’s going to have on our people, particularly on seniors. And that’s why my colleagues and I have become so passionate about this issue. One more reason why it’s so important that we stop ObamaCare.

“Now, you may say, ‘Well, what can we do to stop it? It’s already the law. It’s already in place.’ A lot of people have told me that. The answer is there is something we can do. It comes as [early] as September. In September, in order for this government to continue to function, we have to pass a short-term budget. I wish it were a long-term budget that was balanced, but it looks like it’s going to be a short-term budget. And I think we should pass a budget. We have to. We can’t shut down the government. I’m not for shutting down the government. The only thing I’m saying is that when we do this short-term budget, let’s fund the government. Let’s make sure Social Security checks go out. Let’s make sure we’re funding defense to keep our nation safe. Let’s make sure we fund government, but let’s not keep funding ObamaCare. Let’s not keep pouring money into a program that even the unions are now against. Let’s not keep pouring money into a program that not even the I.R.S. workers who are going to enforce this want for themselves. Let’s not keep funding this program that’s going to hurt seniors on Medicare Advantage. Let’s not keep funding it.

“And so I would just say to those who oppose ObamaCare, ask yourself this question: how can you possibly go back to the people who sent you here, to the people who are going to be hurt by this, to the people being moved from full-time to part-time, to the businesses that can’t grow, to the individuals that are going to lose the coverage they’re happy with and the doctors that they’ve gotten to know? How could you possibly go back to them, to the seniors on Medicare Advantage that are going to see their benefits reduced and their out-of-pocket costs go up? How can you possibly go back to them and say, ‘I did everything I could to prevent these things from happening?’ How could you possibly say that to them if you vote for a budget that pays for this?

“This September gives us the last best chance to slow this down or to stop it. And once this law starts kicking in and it starts hurting our economy, we will start crossing some points of no return. And to my colleagues on the Republican side, I would just say look, if we’re not willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue, what issue are we willing to draw a line in the sand on? If we’re not willing to fight to the end on this issue, what issue are you willing to do it on? Because right now, I can think of nothing that is hurting our economy more. I can think of nothing that’s hurting job creation more than the uncertainty and the fear that this law is imposing on our small businesses, on our middle class, on our working class and on our seniors. And I hope we will not let this last best chance go by. I hope we will take this opportunity to stop this law from hurting Americans, especially the millions of seniors that rely on Medicare Advantage for their health care.”