With backing from physician groups and small businesses, a Senate panel Tuesday approved allowing "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients.
The approval by the Senate Health and Human Service Appropriations Subcommittee continued momentum for legislation that would clear the way for the agreements, which involve patients making regular payments to doctors to cover routine primary-care services. Such agreements, approved in 16 other states, cut out the role of insurers.
The Senate bill (SB 240), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, would make clear that direct primary care agreements are not insurance and are not subject to regulation under insurance laws.
The proposal still needs to clear the Senate Appropriations Committee before it could go to the full Senate. A House version (HB 161), filed by Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and Rep. Mike Miller, R-Winter Park, has already moved through committees and is ready to go to the House floor. Several physician groups, along with the National Federation of Independent Business, are supporting the push for direct primary care.