Confronted by a reporter and camera crew from the Miami Herald on Monday, Republican Senator Mario Rubio defended himself over having signed up his family for the new federal health care coverage. 

“I don’t endorse Obamacare,” Rubio said, responding to a statement by the Democratic former Florida governor Charlie Crist, saying, “Rubio’s endorsement of Obamacare for his own family should end the rhetoric” against the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s an [employer] contribution. It’s available to every employee of the federal government.”

- Sen. Rubio, of the $10,000 Obamacare subsidy

Rubio pointed out that, under the law, congressmen are required to register. “I much rather would have a vibrant private market where individuals like myself and others can buy health insurance from any company that will sell it to us,” he added.

Rubio, who voted against Obamacare and has aspirations for the 2016 presidential campaign, is also under fire for having registered via the D.C. exchange rather than the national exchange, in the process accepting a $10,000 subsidy that many conservatives are rejecting as a “special deal.”

“It’s an [employer] contribution,” Rubio told the Herald. “It’s available to every employee of the federal government.”

Others have shied away from the subsidy to insulate themselves from political attacks that Congress enjoys a special perk under Obamacare.

So far, about 10 senators – the bulk of them Democrats facing difficult re-election campaigns in 2014 - and a handful of representatives have rejected or avoided receiving the annual subsidy.

The most recent elected official to decline the subsidy was Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who issued a press release last week reading, “I don’t think members of Congress should get a special deal. Obamacare is being pushed on the American people and we should live under it just like everyone else.”

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