Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has been a darling of conservatives this cycle, may be shifting closer to the center on his opposition to President Obama’s recently enacted health care bill. Today he told a group of bloggers that he would not repeal the ban on denying insurance coverage to people based on pre-existing conditions, Jim Geraghty reports.
Rubio further told Matt Lewis that he does not considering the pre-existing conditions ban to be a part of “Obamacare.”
Earlier in the cycle, as the bill was on its way to passage and Rubio was in the midst of a Republican primary with the now-independent Gov. Charlie Crist, Rubio had signed the Club For Growth’s “Repeal It” pledge. Candidates who signed the pledged committed themselves “to repeal any federal health care takeover passed in 2010, and replace it with real reforms that lower health care costs without growing government.”
I asked Club For Growth executive David Keating whether the Club’s intention was that the entire bill should be repealed. Keating took a nuanced view, reluctant to deliver a strong opinion on Rubio’s position in absence of the full statement. But he did make it clear that the Club opposes the ban.
“Well, that’s our view. They should repeal everything,” said Keating. “And after they repeal everything, if they want to start over and put in provisions that they think makes sense, that’s fine. This is not one of the provisions we think makes a lot of sense.”
“We don’t expect someone to agree with us 100% of the time. It’s not gonna happen,” Keating also said. “I’m going to have to learn more about the comments. It’s not something, if we were to repeal Obamacare and start over, it’s not one of the provisions that you would want to make the cornerstone of health care—related legislation. That’s not to say you can’t design a plan that covers pre-existing conditions. You can. I was not there for what we said, and what he meant by it, so I’m a little cautious about trying to characterize his remarks as being one thing or another.”
The Rubio campaign was not immediately available for comment.
The TPM Poll Average gives independent Gov. Charlie Crist 38.2%, Rubio 33.7%, and Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek 14.5%.
Late Update: Team Rubio sent this clarification to Geraghty: “Marco believes the health care law should be repealed - all of it. And in its place, we should adopt common sense reforms for which broad agreement exists. Some of these ideas were lumped in with the monstrousity of the final bill. He outlined those today. They were the same ones included in Republican alternatives, including the Coburn plan, which Marco highlighted at the time as a good piece of legislation.”