Fact-Checking Charge that Obamacare Blocks Florida Insurance Rate Regulation

Aug 27, 2014
Originally published on August 27, 2014 2:52 pm

Health insurers want to raise rates in 2015 -- but Florida's insurance regulators are pretty much powerless to stop that.

And the Republican Party of Florida says that's Obamacare's fault.

Is that true?

"PolitiFact Florida gave this its 'pants on fire,'"said Josh Gillin of PolitiFact. "The Republican Party of Florida was replying to a Charlie Crist Facebook Q & A in which he was asked if he would change the law which prevents the state from regulating health insurance. He said yes, there is a law on the books. And the Republicans said no, that's not the reason, it's Obamacare."

But, it turns out, there is a Republican-backed law on the books that is preventing the state from regulating insurance rates.

"That's 'pants on fire' because just last year the state of Florida passed a law that for two years suspended the insurance commissioner's ability to regulate those rates," Gillin explained. "The Republican-led legislature doesn't like that health care law and doesn't want to enforce it.  They said if the federal government wants us to do it, well, they can do it themselves."

In fact, the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was actually designed with the idea that states would regulate rates. Florida has refused to have anything to do with that.

"There are states that didn't regulate strongly that are regulating their insurance rates much more rigorously," Gillin said. "There's even a grant program available that Florida got -- it got a $1 million grant -- and the Scott administration returned that. So you put all that together and there's just no way they can pin that on the Affordable Care Act."