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News Thursday, Oct 22 2015

Marco Rubio's Policies Put Benefits For Seniors And Future Retirees At Risk

Oct 22, 2015

American Bridge President Jessica Mackler released the following statement in response to Marco Rubio’s extreme and out-of-touch policy that would hurt seniors:


“Seniors cannot trust Marco Rubio when his official policy would cut Social Security benefits and voucherize Medicare. He’s taking a page out of Jeb Bush’s playbook and telling seniors to work longer rather than retire. Republicans — following future Speaker Paul Ryan — have tried and failed to cut seniors’ benefits. Rubio might believe that Social Security and Medicare have ‘weakened us as a people’ but Americans will reject his defeatist attitude and his extreme and out-of-touch plan like they have many times before.”


Bad For Seniors


✓ Rubio said Social Security and Medicare were bankrupting the country and weakening us as a people
✓ Rubio supported the Ryan budget and varying levels of privatization of Medicare
✓ Rubio supported raising the eligibility age for both Social Security and Medicare


Video: Rubio Said That Social Security And Medicare “Weakened Us As People.” While speaking at Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, Rubio said, “These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job.” [Reagan Library, 8/23/11]


2011: Rubio Said That “Social Security, Medicare And Medicaid Are Bankrupting Our Country.” According to Tallahassee Democrat, “Rubio said entitlement spending, which the legislation didn’t address, also must be reduced. […] ‘While reducing discretionary spending is an important goal, Washington is devoting a disproportionate amount of time to a tiny slice of the budget while ignoring the fact that continued inaction on saving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is bankrupting our country.” [Tallahassee Democrat, 3/10/11]



Said He Wanted To Protect It, Save It For His Parents


Rubio: “I Want Medicare To Exist. I Want Medicare To Survive. I Want Medicare To Thrive. I Want It To Exist Without Any Changes For People Like My Parents.” While speaking at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Annual Convention in Miami, Florida, Rubio said, “I want Medicare to exist. I want Medicare to survive. I want Medicare to thrive. I want it to exist without any changes for people like my parents, like my mother, and her generation without any changes.” [Official Website of Senator Marco Rubio, 9/19/11]


Rubio: “If We Act Now, We Can Save Medicare In A Way That Doesn’t Change It For People Like My Mom.” While appearing on Fox on the Record with Greta Van Susteren, Rubio said, “The longer we wait, for example, to deal with Medicare, the longer we wait to save Medicare, the more disruptive it’s going to be, the more complicated it’s going to be. If we act now, we can save Medicare in a way that doesn’t change it at all for people like my mom.” [Fox on the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 1/23/13]


2011: Rubio Suggested That Programs Like Medicare, Medicaid, And Social Security “Weakened Us As A People” During A 2011 Speech At The Ronald Reagan LibraryAccording to the Miami Herald, “Yet Rubio had, at a 2011 speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, suggested that programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security ‘weakened us as a people’ because government started to supplant the role of families, neighbors and church groups.’” [Miami Herald, 2/17/13]


Rubio Twice Voted For $430 Billion In Medicare Cuts

  • 2015: Rubio Voted Against Restoring Roughly $430 Billion In Unexplained Medicare Cuts In Senate Republicans’ FY 2016 Budget.In March 2015, Rubio voted against an amendment to the Senate’s FY 2016 budget resolution that, according to Sen Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in the Congressional Record, would have “reject[ed] the $435 billion in Medicare cuts that are in this budget resolution.” The amendment was rejected by a vote of 46 to 54. [Senate Vote 111, 3/26/15; Congressional Record, 3/26/15; Congressional Actions, S. Con. Res. 11]


Politico: Senate Republican FY 2016 Budget “Calls For Finding $430 Billion In Cuts From Medicare, But Offers Few Details On How To Achieve Those Savings.” According to Politico, “The overall budget, written by Enzi in his first budget as chairman, slashes $5.1 trillion in spending over 10 years — achieving the GOP’s goal of balancing the budget within a decade. The budget also relies heavily on a war contingency fund to boost military spending — a move that allows Republicans to go around the strict spending caps outlined in a 2011 deficit deal. It calls for finding $430 billion in cuts from Medicare but offers few details on how to achieve those savings. It also proposes cuts to Medicaid and welfare programs, while not increasing taxes. The budget also gives reconciliation instructions to two key committees that would be charged with replacing Obamacare.” [Politico, 3/27/15]


Voted For The Ryan Budget That “Would Essentially End Medicare”


2011: Rubio Effectively Voted For FY 2012 Ryan Budget, Which Replaced Medicare With A Premium Support Plan. In May 2011, Rubio effectively voted for replacing Medicare with a premium support plan, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2012 to 2021. According to the Congressional Research Service, “Under the new system, Medicare would pay a portion of the beneficiaries’ premiums, i.e., provide ‘premium support.’ The payments would be adjusted for age, health status, and income and would be paid directly by the government to the insurance plan selected by the Medicare beneficiary. In addition, plans with healthier enrollees, would be required to help subsidize plans with less healthy enrollees.” The vote was on a motion to proceed to consider the House-passed budget resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 40 to 57. [Senate Vote 77, 5/25/11; CRS Report #R41767, 4/13/11]


  • Wall Street Journal: Ryan Plan “Would Essentially End Medicare.”According to the Wall Street Journal, “Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington. […] The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program’s soaring costs.” [Wall Street Journal,4/4/11]
Raising The Eligibility Age


Rubio Effectively Voted To Increase The Medicare Eligibility Age To 67 By 2034 As Part Of The FY 2013 Ryan Budget. In May 2012, Rubio effectively voted to increase the Medicare eligibility age to 67 by 2034, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2013 to 2022. According to the Congressional Research Service, “The budget proposal would gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Beginning in 2023, the age of eligibility for Medicare would increase by two months each year until it reached 67 in 2034.” The vote was on a motion to proceed to consider the House-passed budget resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 41 to 58. [Senate Vote 98, 5/16/12; CRS Report #R42441, 3/29/12; Congressional Actions, H.Con.Res. 112]


Rubio: Raising Social Security And Medicare Benefits, Eligibility Age “Have To Be Talked About” For Those 55 And Younger. According to Palm Beach Post, “Rubio told the group that addressing the long term solvency of Social Security and Medicare is key to bringing the federal budget deficit under control. Rubio said there should be no change in those programs for people who are now 55 and older. But he said raising the retirement age and changing the way annual benefit increases are calculated are ‘proposals that have to be talked about.’ Rubio added, ‘I guarantee right now that in this campaign one or both of my opponents will run a commercial that says Marco Rubio wants to take away your Social Security.’” [Palm Beach Post, 8/13/10]


Social Security

Rubio Previously Supported Private Social Security Accounts, But Has Since Backtracked


2010: Rubio Supported Private Accounts, Changed Position After “Reviewing The Data.” According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, “Rubio himself once supported putting Social Security in private accounts – a move opposed by the AARP, among others – but has since backed off that proposal, drawing charges of ‘flip-flopping’ from his Senate rivals. ‘It’s hard to keep up,’ said Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is running as an independent in the Senate race. ‘Obviously, he is all over the map as far as Social Security.’ Rubio’s aides said the former state House speaker changed his position after reviewing the data. [Sarasota Herald Tribune, 10/4/10]


Rubio Supported Raising The Social Security Retirement Age


2015: Rubio Wanted To Raise The Social Security Retirement Age For Future Retirees. In ‘American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone’ Rubio wrote, “Failing to modernize Social Security, however, will eventually lead to an outcome we can’t buy our way out of, no matter how high we might raise taxes. […] We need to increase the retirement age for future retirees.” [American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone, 1/13/15]


  • 2014: Rubio Expressed Support For Raising The Retirement Age Beyond 67. In a speech before the National Press Club, Rubio said, “‘People are working longer because people are living longer. If you turned 21 in 1940, your chances of living to retirement age were only about 55 to 60 percent. But if you turned 21 today, your chances of reaching retirement age are around 80%. What this means in practical terms is that we now have a record number of Social Security beneficiaries. And these beneficiaries, on average, are living another five to ten years longer than Social Security’s earliest recipients. But in the past 80 years, Congress has only increased the retirement age by two years, from 65 to 67. This simply won’t be enough in the long run. The answer is to gradually increase the retirement age for future retirees to account for the rise in life expectancy. And if we act soon, we can do this without changing the retirement age for people who are currently over the age of 55.’” [Official Website of Senator Marco Rubio, 5/13/14]

Published: Oct 22, 2015

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