In his failed 2016 presidential campaign, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) feigned populism about universal healthcare. Twitter just busted him.
“My mother’s on Medicare and Social Security. I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother,” Rubio tweeted on October 28, 2015.
My mother's on Medicare and Social Security. I'm against anything that's bad for my mother.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 29, 2015
However, the Marco Rubio of 2017 seems diametrically opposed to the Marco Rubio of 2015. In a tweet sent on Thursday, Sen. Rubio blasted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) for his “Medicare for all,” single-payer healthcare proposal in response to Republicans’ failed attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
“Government run healthcare for all would be a disaster,” Rubio tweeted. “I will never support the Sanders single payer plan.”
Government run healthcare for all would be a disaster.I will never support the Sanders single payer plan.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 6, 2017
Rubio’s two very different tweets — which journalist Zaid Jilani of The Intercept juxtaposed on Friday — show a stunning lack of comprehension about what Medicare actually is. At its core, Medicare is public healthcare coverage for the elderly, fully funded by U.S. taxpayers. After President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, 19 million Americans aged 65 and up enrolled in the program, which was eventually expanded to include those under 65 who suffer from certain disabilities, as well as Americans suffering from kidney conditions requiring dialysis or transplant.
Sen. Sanders has habitually introduced universal healthcare bills nearly every year during his time on Congress. However, Sanders — who nearly captured the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination last year — made headlines in March when he said he would invite President Donald Trump to support his bill once it was written and officially submitted in the Senate.
“President Trump, come on board,” Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash when asked if he would welcome Trump’s support if offered. “Let’s work together. Let’s end the absurdity of Americans paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.”
While Trump and Sanders are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, the idea that Trump would support universal healthcare isn’t so far-fetched, given his past remarks. In a 2015 interview with Scott Pelley on CBS’ 60 Minutes, then-candidate Trump explained his support of universal healthcare.
DONALD TRUMP: “Everybody’s gotta be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say… but–”
SCOTT PELLEY: “–Universal healthcare?”
TRUMP: “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
Currently, the Republican-led effort in the Senate to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law is stalled, as Republicans are fractured between arch-conservatives who want to repeal every aspect of Obamacare, and moderates who want to preserve Obamacare’s expansion of state Medicaid programs. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has promised to have a vote on a healthcare bill later this month.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.