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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio, Crist sound off on health care, jobs



UPDATE: 9:51 p.m.. Rubio camp questions: Is Crist defending Obama again? See the jump.

Rival GOP candidates for U.S. Senate Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio today offer views on the health care legislation winding through Congress. Crist urged support for an amendment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to block cuts to Medicare. Rubio offers a critique and his own thoughts for reform in an op/ed in the Orlando Sentinel.

Any solution should ultimately seek to promote a vibrant private market where individuals can buy health insurance the way we buy auto insurance — independent of our employer, with the kind of flexibility and coverage we need, and at affordable prices. ...

Any health-care bill should reject a government-run public option. It should instead strive to make health care portable, make medical expenses tax-deductible, incentivize health-savings accounts and allow small businesses to band together through association health plans that help them get the same discounts larger businesses have. Allowing people to buy insurance across state lines will also help lower premiums by offering people more choices. (the full column is here)

Crist issued a news release on the McCain amendment:

“I urge Florida Senators Nelson and LeMieux to support Senator McCain’s amendment today in order to protect our state’s many seniors,” said Crist.  “Cuts to Medicare would adversely affect Florida’s seniors who have paid into the program and rely on its services for their important health needs.  Cutting or reducing seniors’ access to quality healthcare in an attempt at a government takeover of our healthcare system is unconscionable. These cuts would also include $120 billion for Medicare Advantage and around $200 billion in permanent cuts to all Medicare provider payment updates including hospitals, hospice, home health and nursing homes. Many of Florida’s seniors rely on Medicare Advantage for supplemental or increased benefit options. Stripping away a needed benefit from our seniors in order to move toward a single-payer system where bureaucrats are inserted between doctors and their patients is not the health reform Americans deserve.”

Also today, Rubio sounds off on President Obama’s Jobs Summit:

“With America’s unemployment at 10.2 percent and Florida’s at a 34-year high, it’s clear the $787 billion stimulus has failed to get Americans back to work as President Obama, the Democrat Congress and Governor Crist promised.  Their failed policies have had devastating consequences for the millions of Americans who are out of work.

“Today’s jobs summit reminds us that governing by photo-op and showmanship is no substitute for sound policy.  True economic development and job creation begins by empowering small businessmen and women, cutting government red tape, reducing the anxiety Americans feel about runaway Washington spending, and pursuing bold and far-reaching tax reform.  Growing government through the stimulus and other liberal initiatives simply cannot replace or compete with the private sector’s limitless potential to create jobs and prosperity.

“If the President, congressional Democrats and their allies are serious about job creation, they should abandon their current path of job-killing government takeovers of health care, cap-and-trade and even another round of wasteful stimulus spending.  Instead, they should enact tax policies that encourage private sector investment, work to open new markets for American goods, and salvage what’s left of unused stimulus funds by redirecting them towards the entrepreneurs and risk-takers who built our economy in the first place.”

Replies Crist spokeswoman Andrea Saul: "Instead of joining the Governor in his efforts to incentivize small businesses and create job opportunities, Marco Rubio, after 8 years in office, has predictably resorted to rhetoric rather than solutions. Gov. Crist looks forward to working with his legislative colleagues on an aggressive jobs agenda this session including current efforts to pass SunRail for Central Florida, which would be a tremendous boost to the economy and create jobs."

Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos: "It appears Marco Rubio's critique of today's jobs summit, the Obama-Crist stimulus and governing by photo-op struck a nerve with Governor Crist. Once again, it seems Governor Crist has risen to the occasion in defending President Obama, their shared policies and knack for showmanship. Marco Rubio hopes Governor Crist will soon take him up on his offer of debating the issues of the day in person."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:08pm]


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