Pity Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation. It finds itself 2 1/2 years behind on preparing for full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and not because officials there were dragging their feet.
On Friday, the reason emerged in a hearing before the House Select Committee on PPACA. In questioning by House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, OIR officials admitted they were ordered not to prepare for PPACA.
In October 2010, the month before he was installed as House Speaker, Dean Cannon sent OIR a letter telling the agency that it could not proceed on PPACA because it had not been given legislative authority to do so. The letter noted that Florida's government was suing to overturn the law.
So the draft bill that OIR was preparing to make Florida law conform to federal law was set aside, said OIR General Counsel Belinda Miller. She noted "there was no appetite" for it, and even if OIR had proceeded and the Legislature had passed such a bill, it would require amending now that new federal rules have been issued.
But by being so far behind, Florida OIR cannot make its May 1 deadline for approving new rate forms, said Deputy Commissioner for Life & Health Wences Troncoso. The agency will need an extension, extra temps, or both, he said.
More details and a copy of the letter are posted by Florida Current.