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Romano: Scorched earth on Obamacare but slow going on flood insurance

Sen. Marco Rubio says he is working on solutions to deal with the impact of the Biggert-Waters flood insurance act, but he still does not support a delay in rate increases because of concerns about FEMA’s finances.

Associated Press

Sen. Marco Rubio says he is working on solutions to deal with the impact of the Biggert-Waters flood insurance act, but he still does not support a delay in rate increases because of concerns about FEMA’s finances.

It's been quite the week for life-changing insurance laws around here.

The Affordable Care Act? That came on board on Tuesday, and Florida Republicans hate it so much they voted in favor of actually shutting down the government.

The Biggert-Waters flood insurance act? That also debuted on Tuesday, and Florida Republicans hate it so much they attended a news conference so that they could look totally sad.

So here's what I'm wondering:

Why such a vast discrepancy in approaches?

While lawmakers are going scorched-earth on Obamacare, they seem to have a we'll-take-it-under-advisement attitude about flood insurance.

Now I can understand why a lawmaker in Ohio might not care about fine-tuning a flood insurance program, but why did Florida's leaders arrive so late to the party? And why have they been so helpless when it comes to fixes?

Sen. Marco Rubio was one of the few legislators to vote against Biggert-Waters last year, yet he's tiptoeing around the idea of delaying or repealing it now that incomprehensible insurance bills are coming due.

Rubio acknowledged in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott that the law could have a "devastating impact on Florida's economy and housing market." And he now says he is working on solutions but still does not support a delay in rate increases because of concerns about FEMA's finances.

In other words, he is willing to live with the potential devastation of Biggert-Waters until somebody comes up with a better idea. And yet he has taken a totally different tack on health care.

Medical costs are out of control, millions are without health insurance and no one has an alternative solution, but he still wants Obamacare wiped off the books, preferably by lunchtime.

So why the conflicting philosophies, Sen. Rubio?

Why kill health insurance without any alternatives, but keep flood insurance intact until the perfect solution miraculously appears?

Come to think of it, a similar question could be asked of U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis and C.W. Bill Young.

They are so wedded to the crusade of eliminating affordable health care that they voted along with other House Republicans to take the extraordinary and economically treacherous step of shutting down the government.

Yet when it came to a flood insurance crisis that has hit their constituents severely, they barely managed to dictate a letter or two until co-sponsoring last-minute legislation.

And Gov. Scott?

Why, this man is an expert on the Affordable Care Act. He has spent the better part of three years complaining, fibbing, sabotaging and squawking like Chicken Little when it comes to Obamacare.

Yet with a flood insurance crisis looming in his own back yard, his idea of a solution is to show up late and blame the president.

Of course, it's also true that Florida Democrats (We're looking at you, Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Kathy Castor) were as clueless as anyone else when it came to the ramifications of Biggert-Waters. And it's true that Democrats have yet to accomplish anything meaningful in terms of flood insurance reform.

That makes them ineffectual. Maybe inept. And certainly indecisive.

On the other hand, at least they're not hypocrites.

Romano: Scorched earth on Obamacare but slow going on flood insurance 10/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 9:24pm]
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