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Lawmakers Defend Deregulation

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The House and Senate sponsors of the law that removed Florida insurance officials' ability to regulate health-insurance rates for two years said they stand by their decision, which has come under increasing criticism by consumer groups and newspaper editorial boards. 

State Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, and state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, both continue to defend the law they sponsored, as the Times/Herald Bureau reported.

State officials' rationale for the law had been that the Affordable Care Act was making too many changes in insurance law and rules for the state to keep up, and that it was best to cede the regulatory authority to the federal government temporarily.

However,  as PolitiFact recently disclosed, federal officials lack statutory authority to regulate rates, effectively leaving Florida policyholders unprotected until 2016.

In other news about state officials' hostility to Obamacare, the Florida Cabinet was expected to protest the federal "navigator" program, which provides grants to non-profit groups to help uninsured persons learn about and enroll in the Marketplace, which opens Oct. 1.  Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi have expressed concern that a delay in background checks for navigators may place enrollees' private information at risk.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.