At the last regularly scheduled meeting of the 2015 session for his committee, House Health & Human Services Committee Chairman Jason Brodeur dropped a bomb and announced that the chamber would next year tackle some of the thorniest issues in health care: certificate of need (CON), insurance mandates and medical malpractice.
The news puts most healthcare professionals and their respective lobbyists on notice that 2016 will be a bumpy ride.
- Certificate of need is a regulatory process to control the costs of health care by curbing the proliferation of new services or allowing the expansion of services. Florida uses CON to regulate nursing homes, hospices, intermediate-care facilities for the developmentally disabled, new hospitals and certain hospital services. Brodeur noted that there are 19 exceptions for CON in Florida statutes and certain states, such as Texas, don’t use CON at all. This fight usually pits provider against provider or, alternatively, those with a CON against those who want a CON.
- Insurance mandates are requirements put on insurers and HMOs to provide access to certain services or certain healthcare providers. The discussion on mandates usually pits providers and patient advocates who want to see services included in healthcare plans against insurers who argue that the mandates drive up the costs of care.
- Medical malpractice takes on many different issues but Brodeur was clear in his remarks that he planned on pushing legislation that would establish a no-fault system called the Patients’ Compensation System. Brodeur filed bills in 2013 and 2014 to establish the system and only half jokingly said that no one liked the legislation. The bill was filed this year by state Rep. Cary Pigman, a physician, in the House, as well as by state Sen. Jeff Brandes. This fight usually pits the trial attorneys against a unified physician/insurance lobby.
Brodeur warned the lobbyist who may oppose the proposals that killing them in the Senate had a “limited shelf life” and that they would be wise to work with the House. His use of the word “disruption” harkens back to the spirited speeches state Rep. Richard Corcoran delivered on the House floor during budget debate as well as in the House Approrpiations Committee during discussions on the state group health insurance transformation the House has proposed
Joining Brodeur for the announcement were House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman state Rep. Matt Hudson and Economic Affairs Committee Chairman state Rep. Jose Oliva.