House and Senate poised to let feds set insurance rates under ObamaCareby John Kennedy | April 2nd, 2013
The Florida House and Senate look intent on shielding state regulators from any consumer criticism that stems from the insurance expansion that is part of the federal health care overhaul.
The House commitee overseeing Florida’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act approved a measure Tuesday that would suspend for two years the rate-setting authority of the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.
Instead, federal officials would review and approve rates under so-called ObamaCare, which will provide insurance coverage to more Americans, beginning in 2014.
Republicans said they were not trying to duck blame for any problems that could rise from the influx of coverage plans and new companies.
They said that since the federal government has been imposing so many new regulations on the state, it makes more sense that federal officials do the rate-setting.
“This is not changing the consumer tradition of this state,” said Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, sponsor of the measure (PCB SPPACA 13-02), approved in a partyline, 12-6 vote. “But it is giving us flexibility to understand a changing landscape.”
Democrats said the Republican-ruled Legislature was late in enacting provisions of the Affordable Care Act. They also said the measure advanced by Wood — similar to one already embraced by Senate committees — will give consumers the runaround if they have any issue with health insurance rates.
“We can do better for consumers,” said Rep. Jose Rodriquez, D-Miami.