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A first draft of 'Obamacare' insurance regulations

The Times/Herald has obtained an exclusive first draft of proposed insurance regulations that would help make Florida law compliant with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As we told you earlier, the House and the Senate have jointly hired consultant Brian Deffenbaugh to help with this task.

The draft language, which few lawmakers have seen yet, includes a grandfather clause, definition of a "small business insurance carrier" and outlines enrollment periods for health exchanges.

The bill draft also relaxes state rules in a way that would allow new federal standards to take hold, such as limiting the ability of insurance carriers to vary health premiums based on age and sex. This is a provision of the health care law aimed at standardizing how health insurers price products, but  industry watchdogs says it may cause healthy adults to pay higher premiums.

Download PPACA bill draft and tell us what you think.

Ryan Duffy, a spokesman for House Speaker Will Weatherford, defended the uses of a single consultant to draft language for both chambers, even though they are supposed to act as a check and balance against each other.

"He was hired because he's worked in both the House and Senate. He has a very, very specific skill set that no one our our staff has,'' Duffy said. "Once the language is drafted, members have the ability to change it. We don't have to take anything. There is no agreement."