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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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A flood of inconsistent logic from House GOP

Among the worst features of Obamacare is its expansive definition of minimum acceptable coverage, which manages to add insult – for instance, seniors paying for maternity care and devout Muslims and Mormons paying for drug abuse treatment – to injury (the whole notion of forcing Americans to buy a private product in the first place).

You would not expect Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives – the more conservative caucus of Tallahassee’s more conservative chamber – to adopt a similar tactic, but as the Legislature wrestles with providing alternatives to the problematic federal flood insurance program, there we are. The same bunch for whom Obamacare’s choice-killing dictates are anathema encoded in its DNA chose precisely the same consumers-are-stupid path for state-regulated flood policies.

Rejecting the Senate version that would allow flexibility – property owners could insure only the value of their mortgage, or ignore outbuildings – the House passed, by a 98-11 vote, a package that would mandate full-replacement coverage. Because, writes Scripps/Tampa Tribune Capitol Bureau reporter James Rosica, House lawmakers were “concerned about adequate coverage levels.” Never mind that that’s a question for consumers and lenders, a condition embraced in the Senate version.

Still, with time running short on being able to present a unified version for the governor’s signature, senators seemed prepared to choke down the needlessly bossy House bill. “I still believe that we should offer more flexibility,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, of St. Petersburg, “but the offer is on the table that we could take right now.”

This may be a case of the Senate declining to make the perfect the enemy of the good enough, but as we look toward August primaries, it will be interesting to hear GOP candidates for the House – especially those seeking reelection – square their inconsistent logic. I mean, either you believe Americans have the sense to make coverage decisions suitable to their lives, their appetite for risk and their financial circumstances, or you believe they don’t.

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