Marco Rubio will probably support latest Republican overhaul of Obamacare

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PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo by Joey Roulette
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio hasn't met a bill overhauling Obamacare that he won't vote for, and the Graham-Cassidy shit show is probably no exception.

If you only just got Wi-Fi back at home, here's what has been going on as Florida was trying to recover from Hurricane Irma: After multiple attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act died, Senate Republican leaders resurrected one last zombie bill that would likely put thousands of American lives in danger. Because the GOP is trying to rush this through by Sept. 30, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office hasn't had a chance to fully evaluate the impacts of the bill, though many people – from Jimmy Kimmel to the center-left leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – have weighed in.

In a nutshell, the bill created by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana would essentially let states control health care markets by giving them block grants that would replace ACA’s premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion. Through the system, states that didn't expand Medicaid, like Texas and Alabama, would get more money, while California and New York, which have been aggressive in making health insurance available to their residents, would lose out.

But even though Florida chose not to expand, it will still get penalized because it has signed up people for Obamacare than any other state, Vox reports. Under the Graham-Cassidy bill, that translates to a $2.69 billion budget cut by 2026, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"Block grant funding would be well below current law federal funding for coverage, would not adjust based on need, would disappear altogether after 2026, and could be spent on virtually any health care purpose, with no requirement to offer low- and moderate-income people coverage or financial assistance," the policy organization says.

And there's more! The Graham-Cassidy bill doesn't specifically repeal protections for those with pre-existing conditions, but despite what President Donald Trump and other Republicans falsely claim, it does allow states to use a loophole to apply for waivers that allow insurance companies to charge sick people more. Aside from being expected to cough up more cash for health care, people with cancer, Alzheimer's, drug abuse problems and mental health issues would have essentially have no guarantee that they would be covered. The new bill also imposes restrictions that make it difficult for people to get insurance coverage for abortion, allows states to opt out of regulations that demand insurance companies provide maternity benefits and and creates barriers for low-income patients to visit Planned Parenthood.

Ransacking Obamacare through the Graham-Cassidy bill could lead to more than 32 million people to lose coverage, according to Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Now, the 32-million figure is an estimate from the CBO on what it would look like if Congress repealed the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. Without a CBO analysis, the Center estimates the Graham-Cassidy bill would leave a much higher number of Americans uninsured by 2027, more than any of the GOP's past failed attempts.

PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro

So what has Florida's junior senator said? Rubio's been pretty demure these days given that he's hanging out with Tim Tebow on hurricane recovery relief efforts, but he did tell the Tampa Bay Times that he liked the idea of block grants.

"I’ve got to see some of the details, how it impacts Florida," Rubio told the Times. "But by and large, returning the power to the states is something (I want) it to lead to. I don’t think you can design a one-size-fits-all system on virtually anything for a country of this size and diversity."

The Sun-Sentinel called Rubio's potential "yes" vote a "dagger to the heart of millions of Floridians." And it would be – thousands of poor people who subsist on Florida's low-wage jobs won't be able to afford access to health care and potentially die. Of course, Floridians are probably not holding their breaths waiting on Rubio to change his usually partisan votes, but if you want to vent to his staff, here are two ways to leave Rubio voicemails:

- Washington D.C. office, 202-224-3041
- Orlando office, 407-254-2573 or toll-free at 1-866-630-7106




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