Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

Elected officials abandoned consumers on Obamacare

Published Aug. 10, 2013

Strange, but consumers getting ripped off may not be the worst part of what you are about to read.

It's true your health insurance rates could go higher than necessary because the state's insurance commissioner no longer has the authority to stop them, but that almost becomes incidental to the larger issue.

And the fact that folks in other states have seen significant drops in rates because their officials did their jobs and negotiated with insurers, seems merely annoying.

No, I'd say the worst part of this story — the part that should make you tremble with anger — is that your elected officials did this to you. And they did it on purpose.

That would include your state Senate. That would include your state House.

And that would include your governor.

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.

"The state Legislature and Gov. Scott have put their ideology and dislike of health care laws over the best interests of all our neighbors,'' said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. "What they've done is really unconscionable. It's like taking cops off their beat.''

Not convinced? Then consider this little gem.

Recently, a few legislators requested utility companies be required to itemize nuclear cost fees on electric bills. These fees are easily calculated and quite relevant since consumers are getting zero return on their dollars.

That suggestion was quickly shot down.

Yet Gov. Scott is now requiring insurers to itemize how much new policies have risen because of Obamacare, even though it's an impossible calculation since this health coverage did not exist previously.

Bottom line? No one is saying Republicans have to be cheerleaders for the Affordable Care Act. They are free to grumble about it as much as they like.

But this nonsense is different. It is neither true debate, nor is it constructive.

What has been done by your elected officials in Florida is sabotage.

And the worst part is they don't give a dang that you might be collateral damage.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Ross Spano serving in the Florida Legislature in 2017. The Dover Republicans 2018 campaign for Congress is now under federal investigation. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The House Ethics Committee revealed the Dover Republican is under federal investigation for possibly violating campaign finance law.
  2. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  3. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  4. Florida Senator Darryl Rouson on the floor of the Florida Senate. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
    His office said he had been considering filing the bill, but a Times/Herald investigation published Wednesday prompted them to move more quickly.
  5. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., questions FBI Director Christopher Wray during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Also pictured is Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., left. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Scott is co-sponsoring a bill to overturn a 1950s Supreme Court ruling.
  6. Tiffany Carr — shown during a 2004 visit to a Hollywood nail salon, where she spoke on domestic violence — was paid $761,560 annual salary as head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. MIAMI HERALD  |  [Bob Eighmie Miami Herald file photo]
    Former state Sen. Denise Grimsley, a friend of Carr’s, is stepping in as interim president and CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  7. In this 2017 photo, then-Gov. Rick Scott, left, speaks with then-Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran in Tampa. The two were instrumental in refusing to expand Medicaid in Florida. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
    According to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Florida likely suffered the second-highest total of deaths in that time period — 2,776 — attributed to not expanding Medicaid,...
  8. Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivers a Veterans Day address at a campaign event, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Rochester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) ELISE AMENDOLA  |  AP
    State rep. Ben Diamond: Mayor Pete is ‘the type of leader that can really bring our country together’
  9. Former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and U.S. Rep. Val Demings have prominent roles in the impeachment of President Donald Trump. [AP Photos]
    Pam Bondi, Matt Gaetz, Val Demings and more will factor prominently in the coming weeks. Here’s how.
  10. Career Foreign Service officer George Kent, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Kent was one of the most high-ranking career officials who had knowledge about elements of the alleged White House effort.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement