I can’t say I blame him.
Heading into tomorrow’s vote on the Obamacare replacement bill, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has dubbed the bill a “work in progress” and acknowledges that there is a lot of drama surrounding it.
“There’s nothing before us,” Rubio told POLITICO Wednesday.
The senator hasn’t just avoided specifics with the press. He has avoided critics and raucous town halls, where constituents and activists have demanded that other GOP lawmakers keep Obamacare. Meanwhile, Cruz said he flew down to Rubio’s home state and met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate — about an hour’s drive from Rubio’s West Miami home — to recommend changes to the legislation. Trump, meanwhile, has lobbied members of the House to pass the legislation, dubbed “Trumpcare.”
When asked why he’s relatively silent while Cruz and Paul are vocal, Rubio said that his colleagues are “making a different decision about approaching the House bill. [The House is] working on it, when they send it over to us our work will begin.”
Rubio had proposed a plan during the election that called for reducing insurance regulations, tax credits for those who bought insurance outside of what was employer-provided, and reforms to Medicaid and Medicare.
He would like to see a bill that was closer to what he proposed.
“I don’t want to replace Obamacare with a Republican version of Obamacare,” Rubio told the conservative Shark Tank blog earlier Wednesday.
“The fundamental question for me is not just does it repeal Obamacare, but does it make things better than Obamacare?” Rubio also said. “It’s not enough to repeal it — repeal it is obviously important and I support repealing Obamacare — but also when you talk about replacing it, we want to have something that is better than Obamacare, not something that has unintended consequences in the other direction.”
Florida, like my state, North Carolina, refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, citing fiscal responsibility to the state.
“How does this treat Florida on Medicaid?” Rubio asked rhetorically. “Does it treat us fairly compared to all these other states who expanded Medicaid and now are going to get extra money because they did that, and that’s not fair to Florida who I believe did the fiscally right thing.”
“I’m not going to comment on the House bill ‘cause it’s still a work in progress,” Rubio told the station. “By the time I give you a statement now, that bill could change in the next 12 hours and then I’m on record as supporting something that changed … I have to wait and see what the House produces because they’ve got their own drama going on over there.”
As it stands now, passage of the bill appears to be in jeopardy. Too many have similar reservations about details of the bill.
For instance, House Freedom Caucus members are standing firm, feeling the bill doesn’t go far enough to lower premiums.
We’ll know tomorrow.