Mitch Perry Report 9.18.13: Sebelius confronts Florida GOP's obstructionism on Obamacare

Although there's been considerable grumbling in the business community regarding Obamacare, Bob Rohrlack with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce stood beside the League of Women Voters and other supporters of the law in Tampa yesterday, forcefully advocating that the state Legislature endorse expanding Medicaid, or use some other mechanism to accept the $51 billion that the feds are offering the state over the next decade to insure more Floridians.

When I asked him if his Chamber's stance was controversial within his ranks, Rohrlack was unwavering. "It's the law of the land. We need to find out how to work with it."

Too bad nearly every part of our state government feels otherwise.

Yesterday Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was back in Florida selling the ACA. Reflecting on the law passed this year passed a bill removing for two years the state insurance commissioner’s ability to approve insurance rates for new health plans. "It’s unfortunate that keeping information from people seems to be something of a pattern here in the state."

As the NY Times reports, in other states, insurance commissioners used the law to obtain better deals for consumers. But in Florida? "No one has done that," Sebelius said about that action.

She went on to say that "the federal government does not have a rate-review authority. To have the Florida Legislature pass a bill that for two years — 2014 and 2015 — removes rate-review authority really puts Florida consumers at great risk."

Moving on....There's more intrigue in all the wrong places for state Democrats. St. Petersburg's Darryl Rouson is still incoming House Minority Leader as of today, but who knows what will happen next week when his colleague gather to discuss the Leadership Funds pact he created without state party chair Allison Tant's acknowledgement?

And speaking of Florida Democrats - one reason why Alan Grayson is revered by grassroots progressives is that he's so different than most of their elected lot - he's aggressive (maybe too much), says what he thinks, and doesn't worry if it offends moderates. That's why local Dems should be impressed by Alan Cohn, their candidate challenging Dennis Ross in the 15th Congressional District next year. Cohn may or may not ultimate be a good candidate, but he's holding nothing back in his attacks on Ross as being outside the mainstream of the district, or a lot of other things about the GOP.