Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

Rubio says health care law fell short of signup goal

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says the purpose of Obamacare was not to get 7 million people, but to get “30-some-odd million people in this country” insured.

Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says the purpose of Obamacare was not to get 7 million people, but to get “30-some-odd million people in this country” insured.

The White House celebrated last week when 7.1 million Americans signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act marketplaces since they opened in October 2013.

Predictably, the law's critics were not as thrilled. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., spoke on Hannity Tuesday night about what he sees as the reform's shortcomings.

"I mean, the purpose of Obamacare was not to get 7 million people or 6 million people, or whatever the number now is, to sign up on a website," Rubio said. "The purpose of Obamacare, according to them, was to get more people insurance. And by all accounts, it's going to fall woefully short. You're still going to have 30-some-odd million people in this country uninsured."

We wanted to know if Rubio's claim was correct that the health care law was falling short of its goals. Rubio's office didn't return our request for comment.

One thing that struck us is that Rubio is mixing up numbers for the law's first year and what policy makers hope the law achieves over the long run. No one expected to see the law's effects in the first year after the marketplaces opened.

The best authority on health care numbers is the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which regularly publishes independent estimates of the law's effects.

In February 2013, months before healthcare.gov launched, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 7 million people would sign up on the marketplaces by March 31, 2014, after the marketplace had been open for six months.

The CBO estimated that by 2019, 27 million people will have signed up on the marketplaces. There will still be roughly 29 million people uninsured by that time, which is close to the number Rubio mentioned. But that's down from 55 million uninsured in 2013.

Not everyone will end up with health insurance for a variety of reasons. Undocumented workers aren't eligible to shop on the marketplaces. People living in states that have decided not to expand Medicaid, Florida included, will also be among the uninsured.

The law also has a hardship exemption. That means homeless people, domestic violence victims, people caring for disabled family members and others can apply to have the penalty fee waived for not purchasing insurance under the reform's individual mandate.

Our ruling

Rubio claimed the Obama administration's goal for the Affordable Care Act was to get 30 million Americans insured, not the 7 million who enrolled by the March 31 deadline. Down the road, there are targets to insure millions more via the online marketplaces. But the clearly stated goal for 2014, that the White House hit just in time, was 7 million signups. By 2019, that number is expected to jump to 27 million.

Rubio does have a point that many Americans will remain uninsured under the reform, but his claim twists the administration's timeline for enrolling uninsured Americans. We rate his claim Mostly False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/Florida.

The statement

Says the goal of the Affordable Care Act was to get 30 million people insured, but it only got 7 million.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Tuesday on Fox's Hannity

The ruling

Politifact ruling: Mostly False
The clearly stated goal for 2014 was 7 million signups. By 2019, that number is expected to jump to 27 million. We rate Rubio's claim Mostly False.

Rubio says health care law fell short of signup goal 04/06/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 6, 2014 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.