State Capital Briefs (Morning Edition): Friday, February 26, 2016 The News Service of Florida
With Republican leaders pushing for major changes in the health-care system, the House will take up a series of high-profile health issues during a floor session Tuesday. Among the issues are a proposal (HB 37) that would help clear the way for what are known as "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients; a proposal (HB 85) that would allow patients to stay overnight at ambulatory-surgical centers; a proposal (HB 221) aimed at shielding patients from unexpected charges through a practice known as "balance billing;" a proposal (HB 423) that would expand drug-prescribing powers for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants; a proposal (HB 1061) that would allow Florida to enter into a "compact" for multi-state nurse licensure; a proposal (HB 1175) aimed at increasing transparency about health-care pricing; and a proposal (HB 7087) that could help expand the use of remotely provided "telehealth" services. Also during the floor session, the House is expected to consider a controversial bill that is an outgrowth of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year that said same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. The bill (HB 43), known as the "Pastor Protection Act," would seek to prevent clergy members from being forced to perform marriage ceremonies contrary to their beliefs. Critics say the bill is unnecessary because clergy already have First Amendment protections.