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House creates select committee to target health costs

The first sign is here that health care costs could play a starring role in the next legislative session: House Speaker Steve Crisafulli is creating the Select Committee on Affordable Healthcare Access.

Chaired by Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Hialeah, the likely future House speaker, the committee has been tasked by Crisafulli "to explore policy options to reduce the cost of health care for consumers and improve the transparency of health care information, make recommendations for legislative action, and propose legislation to implement those recommendations."

It's in addition to the existing committees and subcommittees on health and human services, health quality, health innovation and health care appropriations.

The group combines several of the House's leading voices on health care issues, including Reps. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford; Matt Hudson, R-Naples; Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park; and Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville.

This select committee comes in the wake of the 2015 session, which was derailed by disagreement over a health care affordability plan proposed by the Senate that would have drawn down federal Medicaid expansion money to subsidize health insurance for poor Floridians. House Republicans opposed the plan, voting it down in a special session on the state budget in June.

It's likely the committee's focus will be on questions surrounding the state's certificate of need program and scope of care, as well as Medicaid, all issues that came up in the affordability fights last year.