Another day, another story about Republicans in yet another state displaying their ignorance about the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). And yes, yet another example where blatant Republican sabotage of the health care law will end up forcing Americans to pay more for health insurance.
This time it comes from the state of Florida, where Governor Rick Scott is no stranger to ignorance. After all, this is the man who signed off on a bill recently that was so poorly worded, it essentially banned any device capable of connecting to the Internet in the state.
Well, apparently Rick Scott (like most Republicans) either willfully lied about the Affordable Care Act or is simply so ignorant about the rules that it’s terrifying he’s in any sort of leadership position at all.
See, what Rick Scott and his fellow Republicans assumed in Florida was that the federal government had the power under the Affordable Care Act to negotiate rates with insurance companies.
The law assumes that states would continue to handle insurance rates between the state and the insurance companies—just as they did before. It’s a provision in the law which is meant to make the law work. That is, of course, something Republicans don’t want to happen.
But these Florida Republicans apparently thought they would be clever. So what they did was pass legislation which suspended for 2 years the requirement for insurance companies to get state approval for new insurance rates—stripping the Florida insurance commissioner from having the power to negotiate lower rates and refuse steeper ones.
Apparently they wanted to take a “jab” at the federal government. Their belief seemed to be that if the federal government wanted to pass these new health care regulations, then let them worry about dealing with rate approval.
Except the Affordable Care Act doesn’t grant that power to the federal government, it’s still given to the state. So basically, what Florida did was pass a piece of legislation at the end of May which allows insurance companies to operate in Florida for the next 2 years, hiking rates if they so wish, without any approval needed from the state.
All because Republicans in Florida (and pretty much everywhere), who wanted to play politics instead of govern, were too ignorant about the Affordable Care Act to know even the most basic rules about the law.
This has prompted Florida Representative Ted Deutch to write a letter to the federal government which asks the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to protect Florida consumers from partisan Republican antics.
Which, personally, I hope the federal government ignores. Maybe it makes me a little cold, but the people of Florida elected these politicians—they should experience first hand the results that follow from voting for people like Rick Scott and these other Republicans.
But let’s look at Governor Rick Scott’s exact words following the signage of this bill:
“I support the Legislature’s deference to the federal government. Rates for the new plans will be reviewed by the same federal government that will be enforcing and updating new rules and regulations throughout this very fluid and uncertain transition period.”
A power, once again, the federal government doesn’t have.
And in another fun tidbit found in Politifact’s fact check, Maryland (a state that’s actually trying to let the law work) successfully negotiated rates for next year’s premiums down by 33%.
Something that Florida, and other Republican controlled states, have chosen not to do.
Nothing quite like Republicans spending years lying about the law, complaining about the law, sabotaging the law—then having the nerve to come out and say, “See, rates are skyrocketing!”
Due in large part because of the partisan politics they’ve been playing since before the Affordable Care Act even became law.