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Governor Signs Bills on Health Care, Ballot Initiatives

The 2019 Florida legislative session is over, but Governor DeSantis continues to weigh which bills passed by the legislature he will sign into law. This week he signed several health care bills reflecting priorities of House and Senate leadership.

On June 11, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to establish a prescription drug import program in Florida. This is even as the program faces opposition from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, which must sign off on the plan. The law establishes a Canadian drug-import program for state health care coverage, including 3.8 million Medicaid patients and 100,000 state prisoners. It would also create an international import program for Florida’s commercial market.

The next day, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 1113 into law, allowing health insurance companies to work with providers — like hospitals — to setup a website with lists of shoppable, non-emergency services such as lab work or outpatient surgical procedures. The bill was a top priority for House Speaker Jose Oliva. HB 1113 also allows state group health insurance plans to offer a Medicare Advantage option. It would create HMO regions for state group health plans.

As ballot initiative campaigns in the state are taking off, the Governor has signed a bill adding additional barriers to the process. Among other things, the bill makes it illegal to pay petition gatherers based on the number of petitions collected, an expensive change for campaigns. The bill also requires the submission of information about petition gatherers, including their addresses and dates of birth.

The changes for paid petition-gatherers take effect immediately, while other petition-related changes in the bill will take effect in a month, according to a House analysis. The changes apply to amendments proposed for the 2020 ballot, though they do not affect signatures already gathered.

Related News: Medicaid expansion amendment reaches review by Florida Supreme Court

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