Rubio to Sebelius: Meet with SeaWorld Obamacare victims

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Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is encouraging Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius to meet with SeaWorld’s part-time employees during her upcoming trip to Orlando, Fla., to see the damaging effects of Obamacare.

“I want to make sure you are aware that just across town from where you will be speaking is SeaWorld, a theme park whose parent company — SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. — became the latest employer this week to announce that it will cut the hours of its part-time employees to avoid the potentially devastating costs of ObamaCare,” Rubio wrote in a Tuesday letter to Sebelius.

Sebelius is scheduled to be in Orlando on Friday to promote the president’s signature health care law at the CVS Pharmacy Conference.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced Monday that it will be reducing the cap on part-time employees work week from 32 hours to 28 hours. While the company did not explicitly say that they are cutting hours due to Obamacare — which requires companies to cover all full-time workers (defined at 30 hours a week) or face a hefty fine  — the reduction in hours will allow the company to avoid Obamacare’s employer health care mandate.

“There is no other reason to change your cap from 32 hours to 28 other than” the Affordable Care Act, Duncan Dickson, an associate professor in the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, told the Orlando Sentinel Monday.


SeaWorld employs about 22,000 workers, including 18,000 part-time or seasonal employees. Rubio noted that some 4,000 part-time or seasonal employees work in Central Florida.

“This means potentially thousands of Florida families will be taking home less income due to their hours being capped at 28 per-week rather than the 32 hours-per-week allowed before Obamacare,” Rubio wrote. “Especially for families living paycheck-to-paycheck, cutting their hours and income is exactly how Obamacare devastates middle class Americans.”

In encouraging Sebelius to meet with the part-time workers, Rubio added that he hopes she will be “moved” by the experience.

“It is my sincere hope that meeting with these men and women will help give you a better picture of what is truly happening in communities across America, as well as why my colleagues and I remain committed to defunding Obamacare before it inflicts additional damage on hard-working Americans,” he concluded.

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