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Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., another member of the bipartisan group of senators who brokered the bill, agreed with McCain, adding that the issue is evidence that the health care law is burdensome on businesses. “It sounds to me like an admission that Obamacare discourages hiring, which has been our point the whole time,” Rubio said.
“I understand that concern; we’ve thought about [it],” Rubio said of the loophole. “But ultimately we are not going to give a costly government program to people who have violated the immigration law, and we can’t afford it. To add 10 [million] or 11 million people to the rolls of that program would just blow up the cost of the bill.”
But Rubio also believes they can work through it. “I also don’t think it’s as big a problem ultimately as people make it out to be,” he continued. “It’s an issue we were aware of, but the alternative is just not acceptable.”
Republicans, who feel the health care law was rammed through Congress over their objection and hurts economic growth, have made it a priority to repeal the statute. The GOP-run House voted to repeal it Thursday for the 37th time.
Democrats hail the law for its expansive coverage that they contend is already helping middle-class families and seniors, and they say it will ultimately save money over the long term. The Supreme Court upheld the law last summer after Republican state attorneys general sued the federal government.
The White House did not comment by press time.
Emily Ethridge contributed to this report.