Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

John Romano column: Elected officials abandoned consumers on Obamacare



Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano doesn't mince words in Sunday's column. An excerpt:

In case you missed the headlines, your leaders recently decided that the state insurance commissioner's power to negotiate rates should be suspended for the next two years. Now, monitoring rates is a large part of the commissioner's job, so it's not like this was some insignificant procedural move.

So why was it done?

Well, upon signing this ridiculous piece of legislation, Gov. Rick Scott suggested it made sense for legislators to hand over review of rates to the federal government during the first two years of the Affordable Care Act.

I see two ways of deciphering that explanation: Either your elected officials are ignorant, or their excuse is a load of hooey.

I'm going with hooey.

First of all, the federal government does not have the authority to negotiate rates. That has always been the state's function.

So that means your politicians were essentially letting insurers set their own prices, with the only caveat being the Obamacare mandate that 80 percent of fees go toward medical care.

Considering how lawmakers scream about less federal regulation and more state autonomy, it seems ludicrous they would voluntarily sign away the right to protect you from indecent health insurance hikes.


Unless (insert evil grin) they wanted the rates to go up.

[Last modified: Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:46pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours