Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been a strong advocate of repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which provides about 16 million Americans with health coverage.
Marco also supported a voluntary health insurance plan/exchange, Florida Health Choices, when he was the speaker of the Florida House in 2008.
“It’s about competition, it’s about choice, and it’s about the marketplace,” Marco told The Palm Beach Post in 2008, notes Politico.
The Tampa Bay Times reported in 2014 that Florida, which refuses to expand Medicaid for those with low incomes, spent $900,000 to educate Floridians on how to find the website for Florida Health Choices.
MSNBC notes Florida has spent $2.6 million on Florida Health Choices.
After all that investment, Florida Health Choices has 80 people covered, while Obamacare has provided coverage to 1.6 million people in Florida.
Politico notes that Rubio, who recently declared he was running for president in 2016, has not included Florida Health Choices in his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Rubio also didn't mention Florida Health Choices on his recent Fox News op-ed: “My three part plan for the post-Obamacare era.”
Rubio writes, "These consumer-centered reforms will advance that goal the only way it can be advanced: by channeling the power of our free market."
He didn't explain why the free market drove the U.S. to be dead last among developed nations for affordability and patient access in a study that was taken before ACA was implemented, noted MedicineNet.com
Rubio spokeswoman Brooke Sammon told Politico that Rubio still supports a “true free-market exchange,” and added:
"What’s in Obamacare is neither free-market or truly an exchange. It is unfortunate that this disastrous health care law is impacting the Florida Health Choices program, which is exactly the kind of consumer-based health care solution Americans are looking for."
If Americans are truly looking for a "consumer-based health care solution" it might be clear why fewer than 100 people have signed up for Florida Health Choices in a state with a population of 20 million.
Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, told Politico, “The notion of promoting coverage in a way that does not enable people to get one of the significant benefits of the Affordable Care Act … is really harmful and would cause millions of people to be far worse off than they are today.”
Sources: Politico, Tampa Bay Times, MedicineNet.com, Fox News, MSNBC
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore