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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Gaetz to hospital commission: Transparency alone won't increase health access



The Florida Senate has a message for Gov. Rick Scott and his Commission on Health Care and Hospital Funding: A few regulatory changes like certificate of need reform or price transparency aren’t going to make health care affordable.

“Accurately and fairly reporting to a hungry man without money the true prices on the menu that he can’t afford in a restaurant he can’t get to doesn’t mean he’ll get to eat,” Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, told commission members Tuesday morning. “Posting the price list doesn’t by itself reduce cost or provide access to care.”

Gaetz was sent to the commission, created by Scott last year, by Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, for their final meeting.

The commission’s work has largely focused in recent months on requiring greater price transparency, including legislation Scott proposed.

But Gaetz, who said he supports a price transparency bill by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, insists that won’t actually affect access. It’s a common refrain from Senate Republicans, who last year voted to expand Medicaid in Florida.

“The idea of expanding access to care by providing health insurance coverage to the uninsured is dead in Florida, certainly for three years, maybe for five years,” Gaetz told commission members. “And so now the health care debate is focused on a variety of second-tier issues that may or may not to a degree affect the cost of care.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 11:46am]


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