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Health Care

A healthy and productive workforce is vital to Florida employers and the state’s economy as a whole. To ensure a thriving Florida workforce, AIF will focus its efforts on proposals that seek to increase the accessibility and affordability of quality health care for Florida residents. Further, AIF will continue to encourage the Legislature to leverage available federal funding for delivering health care to more Floridians in a manner that best safeguards Florida’s citizens and protects the State’s financial health. The following topics represent the kinds of inventive solutions for which AIF will advocate during the 2017 Legislative Session.

Health Care Workforce

Florida is now the third most populous state in the nation; our residents reflect diversity in age, income, talent and, most importantly, needs. Almost ¼ of the state’s physicians are age 60 or older and will retire or cut back their practice within the next 10 years. These statistics illustrate the need to increase our health care workforce. AIF SUPPORTS increasing the number of graduate medical education slots available in Florida. Other available workforce resources that are currently underutilized most be considered. AIF also SUPPORTS removing regulatory scope of practice obstacles for qualified health care professionals to ensure greater access to quality care for a larger number of Floridians at more affordable costs. Further, AIF will urge the Legislature to encourage institutions of higher education to include technological advances in degree curriculum and recognize that private institutions of higher education contribute in a significant manner to those health care professionals who serve our residents.

Telehealth

Everyday Floridians are discovering how technology makes their lives simpler by giving them access to information, goods and services at their fingertips. Florida’s companies are finding new ways to virtually join consumers and products, which lowers costs and eases the burden of accessibility. In health care delivery however, these advances are not currently being used to their fullest potential. Current rules and regulations have not kept up with available technology and terminology and now hamper the operation of the free market. AIF SUPPORTS legislation that permits an unfettered role for telehealth services that will allow our citizens access to better quality care at lower costs.

Quality & Cost Protocols

Employers rely on insurers so that their employees receive access to the most clinically effective treatments - this allows employees to be at work rather than at home or in the hospital. Currently, the many health insurance carriers in Florida—each with many different policy product offerings, containing tens or hundreds of prior-authorization and step-therapy programs - change their standards of care in real time based on the protocols advanced and adopted by a myriad of physician specialty societies, based on their latest evidence-based research. These procedures and protocols allow for the use of the safest, most cost-effective drug and permit progressing to other, more costly drugs, in accordance with FDA approvals. However, several legislative proposals have been initiated to dismantle this rational, cost-effective protocol and force insurers and consumers to purchase the most expensive drugs and treatments even when equally effective therapies are available at much lower costs. The use of specialty pharmacies, drug formularies, and cost sharing incentives are examples of benefit designs that have helped and should be permitted to continue helping patients get the care they need while keeping their coverage affordable.

AIF SUPPORTS continued flexibility for health plans to ensure consumers receive high quality, high value, and affordable care, through continued use of innovative plan designs to achieve this balance.