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FL Senators Split On Health Care Vote

Florida's senators were split in their votes on the plan to debate repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted against the motion. He says he couldn't believe his Republican counterparts advanced a bill that has so little support among constituents.

"Why in the world do you do this?” Nelson said. “Why do you support a bill that would hurt so many Americans?"

Nelson says the bill's proposal to reduce Medicaid spending over time will eventually knock out vulnerable citizens from the program, like veterans and seniors.

But his colleague Sen. Marco Rubio, who voted "yes" on Tuesday, insists in a Facebook Live video that Floridians who depend on Medicaid won't lose coverage.

“By law, Florida cannot kick people off the program if they qualify for the program,” Rubio said. "By law, Florida cannot and will not deny people coverage if that coverage is mandated.”

Rubio says there needs to be an honest debate on health care based on facts, which he doesn't believe has happened so far.

Nelson is urging Republicans to consider the many Americans who fear they will be hurt by the current proposals.

"Take a moment, reflect back on what your constituents have said – not just some of your constituents – listen to all of your constituents, and ask yourself: are you doing the right thing?” he said.

Nelson is invoking Republican Sen. John McCain's call for Congress to put partisanship aside and work on improving the nation's health care system together.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.
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