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Lawmakers To Again Consider `Direct Primary Care'

After the issue stalled in the Senate at the end of this spring's legislative session, lawmakers could take up a proposal in 2018 that would clear the way for doctors and patients to enter into “direct primary care” agreements.

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, filed a bill (SB 80) on Wednesday to address the direct primary care issue during the legislative session that starts in January. Under direct primary-care agreements, patients would make regular payments to physicians to cover routine care, cutting out the role of insurers.

The bill would make clear that the agreements are not insurance and are not subject to regulation under insurance laws. With backing from groups such as physicians and small businesses, the House voted 107-6 during this spring's session to approve a direct primary-care bill.

A Lee-sponsored bill received unanimous approval from four Senate committees, but the issue died at the end of the session. Lee's new version was one of the first bills filed for the 2018 session.