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CNN Fact Check: Rubio says Obamacare needs a check up

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    GOP responds to the State of the Union

GOP responds to the State of the Union 14:37

Story highlights

  • The cost can be significant
  • Several companies say they plan to trim health costs by using more part-time workers
  • Study: By 2022, 7 million fewer people will be covered by employer-sponsored benefits

Sen. Marco Rubio took President Barack Obama to task on the issue of health care during the Republican response to the State of the Union.

The Claim:

"Obamacare was supposed to help middle-class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren't hiring. Not only that; they're being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers."

The Facts:

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires companies with more than 50 full-time employees (defined as working more than 30 hours a week) to provide health insurance that meets standards set by the Department of Health and Human Services. The cost can be significant. McDonald's says the law will raise costs by $10,000 to $30,000 for each franchise.

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    Several companies with low-wage workers -- including Wal-Mart and Darden, which operates Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants -- have said they plan to trim health costs by using more part-time workers.

    The direct impact isn't clear, but last week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that by 2022, 7 million fewer people will be covered by employer-sponsored health benefits. That's nearly double the 4 million it projected a year ago.

    What Rubio doesn't say is that many people losing employer-sponsored benefits will obtain insurance through government-run exchanges. The CBO predicts that 27 million more Americans who would otherwise be uninsured will have insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.

    Conclusion:

    So Rubio's claims are true, but they are only part of the health care story.

        2013 State of the Union

      • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12:  U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and said, "It?s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth".  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

        The heart of President Barack Obama's speech Tuesday was the same focus that's driven every State of the Union of his presidency.
      • Obama shakes hands with House Speaker John Boehner before delivering the address.

        President Barack Obama launched three days of campaign-style speeches with a visit to a manufacturing plant that he said epitomized his proposals for job creation.
      • President Barack Obama is greeted before his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, February 12.

        CNN asked viewers to post a #tweetoftheunion on Twitter summarizing Obama's State of the Union speech.
      • As with any State of the Union address, President Barack Obama had several audiences and there were multiple aims for the White House.
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        Claiming Barack Obama thinks a "free enterprise economy" is "the cause of our problems" -- not, as he sees it, the solution -- Sen. Marco Rubio argued that the president's proposals would hurt middle class citizens more than help them.
      •  	SPANISH FORK, UT - NOVEMBER 24: A car makes it's way up U.S. Highway 6 as several 2.1 mega watt wind powered turbines owned by Edison Mission Energy, sit a the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon November 24, 2008 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Each turbine is 300 feet tall, with three 150 foot blades. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior, Michael D. Olsen, said the potential for production of wind energy on public lands in the West is 'tremendous,' with the alternative energy source already accounting for the fastest growing energy sector in the U.S. Last year the U.S. saw a 46 percent increase in wind capacity and $9 billion in new investments, he said. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

        President Barack Obama talked up alternative energy. Not only did he tout the solar and natural gas industries' recent gains, he also talked up the amount of wind energy that's now fueling the country.
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        From the Great Society to the Axis of Evil, here are historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's top State of the Union moments.
      • First Lady Michelle Obama, center, is recognized by the audience and special guests surrounding her before President Barack Obama's 2013 SOTU. Front row, left to right: Sgt. Sheena Adams, Nathaniel and Cleopatra Pendelton, Michelle Obama, Menchu de Luna Sanchez and Jill Biden. Second row, left to right: Governor John Kitzhaber, Deb Carey, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amanda McMillan, and Lieutenant Brian Murphy.

        Earlier presidents delivered a written message to be read to Congress before the tradition became at TV event.