July 5, 2020

2020 Legislative Preview

The Issues: Florida's 2020 legislative preview

Amy Keller | 12/26/2019

The Issues

Health Care

House Speaker Jose Oliva (R-Miami Lakes) managed to steer through several major health care reforms in 2019, including a repeal of the certificate of need regulatory process for hospitals, a regulatory framework for tele-health services and a plan to allow prescription drugs to be imported from Canada. Back on the agenda this year is a move to expand the scope of practice of nurse practitioners and other health care providers — which the Florida Medical Association fought successfully last year. Sen. Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine) and Rep. Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) authored a bill that would allow licensed pharmacists to test and treat patients for influenza and streptococcus at their local pharmacies — a move they say would streamline care and cut costs for uninsured patients. A group called Floridians for Dental Access, meanwhile, is renewing its push for the licensing of dental therapists — mid-level providers similar to physician assistants — who could work under the supervision of a dentist to provide routine dental care. The Florida Dental Association opposes the concept, which is in practice in 12 other states. Sen. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) and Rep. Nicholas Duran (D-Miami) are pushing a bill backed by the American Diabetes Association that would require insurers to cap co-pays for insulin prescriptions at $100 a month.

College Athletes

Legislation that DeSantis backs would allow college athletes to earn money from endorsements. California recently passed a similar law, and legislatures in New York and Michigan are also considering it. Amid the wave of change, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s board of directors voted in October to allow students to profit from endorsements. DeSantis, a baseball captain while at Yale, predicts bipartisan support for the legislation, which would go into effect on July 1 if it passes.

Insurance

The insurance industry is pushing to change assignment of benefits provisions, or AOBs, in auto policies. AOBs allow policyholders to sign their policies over to third parties, who arrange for repairs and deal with the insurance company. The insurance industry and its proponents claim that some auto glass repair companies are using coercive methods to get consumers to sign AOB forms and that a flood of AOB-related lawsuits is driving up auto insurance rates. The number of AOB-related lawsuits has risen from 400 in 2006 to 35,000 last year, according to Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and he says the “lion’s share of that exploitation is the windshield glass fraud that takes place.” Independent auto glass repair companies argue that the Safelite company practically has a monopoly over auto glass repairs and that shrinking payments from insurers have left many smaller, local shops with no other recourse than filing lawsuits to get paid. Insurers were successful last year in getting the Legislature to revamp the AOB practice for residential and commercial property insurance policies. Insurers can now sell discounted policies that don’t allow for AOBs. The new law also limits attorney fees in AOB-related lawsuits filed by contractors.

Tags: Government/Politics & Law, Feature, 2020 Legislative Preview

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