During an interview on conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s talk radio program Thursday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined fellow Tea Party favorites Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) in demanding that a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year include provisions to defund Obamacare in its entirety.
Over the course of the program, Rubio parroted the usual litany of wild — and widely debunked — conservative hysteria about the dire consequences that Obamcare will have on American businesses and the U.S. health care industry, asserting that he would only vote to avert a government shutdown if Obamcare implementation is halted completely:
HEWITT: Senator Rubio, the continuing resolution is headed your way. How is this stacking up as Act III of the spending drama?
RUBIO: Well first of all, I don’t think anyone is in favor of shutting down the government, but I think that’s where we’re headed ultimately here, unfortunately, if we don’t fix our debt problem… But here’s what I’ve said about this continuing resolution. Senator Cruz from Texas is offering this amendment to defund Obamacare. If that gets onto the bill, in essence, if they get a continuing resolution and we can get a vote on that and pass that onto the bill, I’ll vote for a continuing resolution, even if it’s temporary, because it does something permanent, and that’s defund this health care bill, this Obamacare bill, that is going to be an absolute disaster for the American economy. You’re already starting to feel the outer edges of that… I already am running into businesses that are planning next year on not hiring people or laying some people off so they don’t have to meet these mandates. Others are going to push their employees off of their private plans that they offer and onto these exchanges, driving up the cost for the public. So this is going to be an implementation disaster. It’s going to hurt our economy severely. And we’re not spending enough time talking about that.
Later on, Hewitt asked if Rubio would settle for partially defunding Obamacare — specifically, by repealing a provision levying a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices — in exchange for funding the government. Rubio replied, “I don’t know if that alone would be enough” to secure his vote for the continuing resolution, but that he “certainly would support that amendment.”
Defunding the health reform law would devastate tens of millions of Americans who would no longer receive federal subsidies for purchasing health insurance or have expanded access to public insurance programs such as Medicaid. It would also fly in the face of public opinion, since the majority of Americans believe that implementing Obamacare should be a “top priority” in their state. And contrary to some Republicans’ claims, a government shutdown would be a decidedly bad development for essential government services and the American economy at large.